Former NBA Star Dan Roundfield Dead at 59; Drowns Attempting to Save His Wife

Dallas Mavericks ExaminerCorrespondent IIIAugust 8, 2012

Multiple sources are reporting that former NBA All-Star Dan Roundfield has died while trying to rescue his wife. He was 59.

Roundfield was a well-loved individual who had a stellar professional basketball career for 11 seasons in the ABA and NBA.

The Associated Press (h/t Inside Hoops) reports:

"Dan Roundfield...drowned off the Caribbean island of Aruba while helping his wife as she struggled in rough water. Roundfield...had been swimming with his wife, Bernie, off the southeastern tip of Aruba on Monday when they became caught in rough water beyond a protected reef area, said John Larmonie, a police spokesman on the southern Caribbean island.

"The former All Star was apparently swept away in a strong current as he tried to help his struggling wife, Larmonie said. Police, firefighters, the Coast Guard and volunteers searched for him, finding his body about 90 minutes later, trapped by rocks underwater."

He is survived by his sons Christopher and Corey, two grandchildren and his wife.

"Dr. Rounds" was a terrific all-around player. I have personal memories of him from my first years of interest in the NBA. He was known to be a quiet, but consistently effective force on the hardwood and had a reputation as a gentle giant off the court.

Originally from Detroit and playing his college ball at Central Michigan, he began his career in the old ABA before starring with the Atlanta Hawks. He made a brief stop in his hometown with the Detroit Pistons before ending his career with the then-Washington Bullets.

Though slightly undersized by today's standards, in many ways he embodied a prototypical NBA power forward. A strong rebounder and tenacious defender, he was named to five NBA All-Defensive teams in addition to his three consecutive All-Star appearances. For his career he averaged nearly 15 points and over nine rebounds per game.  

In his All-Star debut, Roundfield scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in just 27 minutes of play and came close to winning the MVP but was eclipsed by George Gervin's 34 points.

I also distinctly remember him having his share of gray hair, something not commonly seen then, but certainly never today. Although he may have looked a bit older at the time, he didn't play like it.

Loved by his family and highly regarded by the community, Roundfield's legacy has been echoed by many.  Hall of Famer and "Human Highlight Reel" Dominique Wilkins remembered Roundfield fondly. Via Fox Sports South:

Danny was the most honest and upfront person I knew and I’m very stunned at hearing the news of his death. 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.

Adding to the loss, Roundfield and his wife were vacationing with their grandchildren. The island is providing a social worker to help with the inevitable shock and grief.

Beaches in Aruba are generally known to be safe, but there are areas that can be problematic, particularly when the weather doesn't cooperate. Sadly, this was a place where the family had been before.

"It's a real tragedy," Larmonie said. "He drowned saving his wife." 

Wilkins added, "My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, I will truly miss him.” 


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