An idyllic vacation turned tragic when former NBA All-Star forward Dan Roundfield drowned while swimming off the coast of Aruba.
A police spokesman told the Associated Press that Roundfield and his wife swam beyond a protected reef area Monday on the southeastern tip of the Caribbean island. John Larmonie, the police spokesman, said Roundfield, 59, helped his wife to safety after they encountered strong currents but was swept away himself. His body was found underwater, trapped by rocks, about 90 minutes later by a search team.
Julia Roundfield of Detroit, the player’s sister-in-law, confirmed the report of his death to the AP.
Roundfield, a second-round pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1975, signed instead with the ABA Indiana Pacers, then entered the NBA with the Pacers the following year. In 12 pro seasons — three with Indiana, six with Atlanta, one with Detroit and two with Washington — the 6-foot-8 product of Central Michigan averaged 14.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He was even better in 40 playoff games (15.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg) and strung together six straight double-double seasons from 1977-78 through 1982-83.
A three-time All-Star and five-time selection to the league’s all-defensive team, Roundfield helped the Hawks to the postseason five times in his six seasons there and finished fifth in MVP balloting in 1979-80. In Atlanta, he played for coaches Hubie Brown, Kevin Loughery and Mike Fratello and alongside players such as Tree Rollins, John Drew and, by 1982, Dominique Wilkins.
The Hawks released a statement that was quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, including comments from team vice president Wilkins:
“Danny was the most honest and upfront person I knew, and I’m very stunned at hearing the news of his death,” Wilkins, now a Hawks vice president, said in a statement released by the team. “Danny’s one of my closest friends and he was a tremendous influence on my NBA career, on and off the court. He taught me how to be a professional and took me under his wing. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, I will truly miss him.”
Rounfield is survived by his wife Bernie, sons Corey and Christopher and their grandchildren, the Atlanta newspaper reported.