Atlanta Hawks: Former Hawks All-Star Dan Roundfield drowns in Aruba

Former Hawks All-Star Dan Roundfield drowned yesterday off the coast of Aruba.

According to reports, Roundfield’s wife became distressed while swimming off of Baby Beach and Roundfield tried to assist her. The Aruba Herald reported that witnesses saw the woman return to shore but that Roundfield was taken out to sea. Authorities found Roundfield’s body under some rocks, the Herald reported.

A police spokesman in Aruba told the Associated Press that Roundfield and his wife went beyond a protected reef area and got caught up in rough waters. The couple were vacationing at the Renaissance Resort.

“It’s a real tragedy,” the spokesman, John Larmonie, told the AP. “He drowned saving his wife.”

Roundfield’s sister-in-law, Julia Roundfield, also confirmed his death to the AP.

“He was a real sweet guy,” Julia Roundfield told the AP. “He really was a sweetheart.”

Roundfield’s survivors include his wife, Bernie, sons Corey and Christopher, and their grandchildren.

Roundfield, 59, played six seasons for the Hawks from 1978-79 to 1983-84. He was named to All-Star teams in 1980, ‘81 and ‘82 and was second-team All-NBA in 1979-80. Roundfield also was voted to the All-Defensive team in five of his 12 NBA seasons.

In a 2006 interview with the Hawks’ Web site, Roundfield said he worked in marketing for an environmental engineering company. He said his favorite NBA memories included making the playoffs in his first season with the Hawks and playing alongside Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins.

The 1978-79 Hawks, coached by Hubie Brown, earned the franchise’s first playoff series victory since 1969-70 by defeating Houston. The Hawks lost a seven-game series to the Washington Bullets in the conference semifinals; Roundfield, in the Website interview, said the Hawks “probably should have beat” the Bullets.

“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.”

Danny Solomon, a Hawks ball boy during Roundfield’s final season with the Hawks, said Roundfield still lived in the Atlanta area. Solomon said Roundfield was “the nicest dude in the world,” a personality that contrasted with his physical playing style.

“Strong as an ox,” Solomon said. “Back then, all the centers were very, very strong. That’s back when it was ‘real’ basketball and if you tried to go to the hole against a guy like Roundfield, you would go straight down to the floor. He was known for being really rough. He was a stud down low.”

The Cavaliers selected Roundfield in the second round of the 1975 draft after the Detroit native starred at Central Michigan University. The Hawks signed Roundfield as a free agent before the 1978-79 season. In the summer of 1984 Atlanta traded Roundfield to the Pistons for Cliff Levingston, Antoine Carr and two draft picks.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat
Follow ajchawks on Twitter.

299 comments Add your comment


August 7th, 2012
1:59 pm

RIP to one of the greatest Hawks to ever play the game!


August 7th, 2012
2:00 pm

To answer some of the questions. The Roundfield’s were vacationing in Aruba with their 2 grandsons and Dan’s sister. His wife was on a raft that was floating a little to far out, she cannot swim so Dan went to pull her back. Dan and his two grandsons, 7 and 5, were playing on the reef when he noticed his wife and went to the edge of the reef, when he arrived the rip tied pulled him under and he hit his head on the reef and was kept under, he somehow got stuck between rocks and seaweed, that is why it took longer to find him. No one else was hurt and all managed to return to shore safely. He is survived by his wife, two grown sons, and two grandsons. He will truly be missed.


August 7th, 2012
2:01 pm

very very sad day in atlanta. as most of our childhood heros in atlanta contunue to make headlines, holifield, williams andrews – even that bunch of hawks he played with (Fast Eddie, John Drew) – you never heard anything from roundfield. i often sad the one part of the hawks (unlike the braves or falcons to an extent) – never bring the old guys for a reunion – at least once a year. again great loss to the roundfield family and hawk family as well. RIP Dan Roundfield


August 7th, 2012
2:04 pm


August 7th, 2012
2:06 pm

Outside of Nique, Dan Roundfield was my all time favorite Hawk. Sad to see him go out that way!!



August 7th, 2012
2:07 pm

One of my all time favorite players. RIP


August 7th, 2012
2:08 pm

As great of a player that Danny was, he was an even better person. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.


August 7th, 2012
2:10 pm

Horrible news. Loved watching him, Eddie Johnson, and Drew back in the day. Sad day for the Atlanta sports family.

J. Simons

August 7th, 2012
2:18 pm

I was a proud member, actually President, of the Danny Roundfield Fan Club at Central MI University. Danny was a great player and wonderful friend. I am glad we kept in touch over the years and am so sad for Bernie and his sons/family…


August 7th, 2012
2:23 pm

I never saw Dan play but my mom has and when I told her about his death, she sounded hurt just like some of you guys. She remembers him to be an excellent rebounder and hard working defensive specialist. After reading up a little about him, he sure did sound like a pretty great guy on and off the court. I pray that the Heavenly Father saw fit for him to live in eternity ..RIP Mr. Roundfield!!


August 7th, 2012
2:24 pm

RIP: Truly a great player; thanks for the memories, sympathy & prayers for the family


August 7th, 2012
2:25 pm

A true Gentle Giant that will be deeply missed. RIP Big Guy.


August 7th, 2012
2:25 pm

Can anyone translate the article to English please?

Kathy Barr Gomoluch

August 7th, 2012
2:26 pm

Danny was my brothers roommate at Central Mich. University in 1975. His brother Royce was also, nice guys. My sympathy to the entire family.

Kathy Barr Gomoluch

August 7th, 2012
2:28 pm

Danny was my brothers roommate at Central Mich. University in 1975. His brother Royce was also, my sympathy to the Roundfield family.

Jimmy Crack

August 7th, 2012
2:29 pm

A sad loss for longtime Hawks fans. I met him once and invited him over to our table, and he stayed for at least a half hour. A very nice man.

Many here may not know that he was an awesome basketball player. His nickname during his playing days should have been “Money”, because when he had the ball in the paint, you could count on it going in.

R.I.P. Dan and hearts go out to the family.


August 7th, 2012
2:32 pm

Very sad to hear. He was one of my favorites back in the day. May peace be with his family and friends.

Tampa Gator

August 7th, 2012
2:38 pm

I only met him once….as I stated earlier……and was so impressed with his openness and friendliness towards total strangers….. my wife and I that evening. Several others on here this morning who knew him so much better confirmed my impressions of the man. So sorry for all his family….and to all his obvious many friends. Classy human being and family man….with lots of friends. You lived, cared, and loved well. RIP…Dan Roundfield.


August 7th, 2012
2:42 pm

I work at the arena and DR would come to a Hawks game now and then. He was always very nice. Sorry to hear about this!


August 7th, 2012
2:45 pm

Read most of the comments above and I cant add anything. Great Great Basketball Player He was one of the best. Thanks, Mr. Roundfield. Truly a Legend.


August 7th, 2012
2:45 pm

I already miss you Dan. I am forever striving to have your true character of love, friendship and grace. My prayers go out to your wife, family and especially your grandsons. RIP

Destin Dawg

August 7th, 2012
2:49 pm

I remember Hubie Brown kissing him on the cheek after a well played game, I’ll never forget it.


August 7th, 2012
2:54 pm

Rest in peace Tree!


August 7th, 2012
2:56 pm

DR and Truck were 2 of my favorite Hawks.

Dan always gave it a good show each time he played.

I hope the Hawks show their support for DR’s family this upcoming season. He was an excellent rep of Hawks basketball.


August 7th, 2012
3:01 pm

Wow I am in disbelief, I grew up watch Dan play with the Hawks. I loved to watch him play right before I had a game, I would try and play just like him on and off the court. The epitome of sportsmanship and hardwork.


August 7th, 2012
3:03 pm

wow, hate to hear this!!!


August 7th, 2012
3:11 pm

The Hawks teams with Roundfield, John Drew, Fast Eddie Johnson were fun to watch and fun to follow. The Hawks could use a Dan Roundfield now. RIP to a great pro.


August 7th, 2012
3:14 pm

Dan was an awesome person in and out. Went to school with his son Chris and had the pleasure of working with him everyday. We all heard in college that Chris’ Dad was a basketball player and none of us believed him We swore he was lying. We were all too young to really know who Dan Roundfield was as a player. But he was clearly an awesome father and grandfather. Loved his grandkids more than anything. He was always willing to help you out and was the ultimate gentlemen. He loved his wife and his family. He wasn’t pretentious and enjoyed telling stories of his days on the court but he never bragged. He just loved the game. What a great guy. He will be missed. RIP Dan.


August 7th, 2012
3:16 pm

I’m too young to remember Dan Roundfield’s playing days, but from what I’ve read about him seems like a class act. Rest in peace and condolences to the Roundfield family.

Barry Kotzen

August 7th, 2012
3:18 pm

I used to sit a few rows off the court behind the one of the baskets when Dan Roundfield played for the Hawks. I vividly remember the sensation of seeming to feel the force when the Pistons came to town and the banging that was going on down low. Dan Roundfield is part of those memories which are burned into my brain for as long as I’ll live. I’ve moved away from ATL a few years ago but, I remain a Hawks fan forever. I had heard Dan Roundfield was a class act off the court. I’m glad to hear it was apparently true. R.I.P. I will always remember watching the truly underappreciated great player that Dan Roundfield was.

Atl Sports Lover

August 7th, 2012
3:21 pm

RIP…you were a great guy! Condolences to the family.


August 7th, 2012
3:21 pm

Glad to hear he touched so many lives. He was definitely a strong dude on and off the court. RIP

The Truth

August 7th, 2012
3:25 pm


regarding your
2:00 pm post:

Thanks for the details

R.I.P Dan and heartfelt sympathy to the family


August 7th, 2012
3:31 pm

My sympathies go out to his whole family Bernie, Corey & Katie and the children, and Chris. I pray that at this time of sorrow God will place is loving arm around every member of Dan’s immediate family. It appears from others comments that the grandchildren were playing in the water when the accident happened. My ernest prayer is that they did not witness or understand the magnitude of this tragedy.


August 7th, 2012
3:35 pm

A sad day for Central Michigan fans. RIP Dan.

[...] has drowned while …Former NBA All-Star Roundfield Drowns While Swimming Off ArubaBloombergAtlanta Hawks: Former Hawks All-Star Dan Roundfield drowns in ArubaAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Former Hawks star Roundfield drowns in ArubaYahoo! [...]

steven a smith

August 7th, 2012
3:40 pm

He would have been a great NBA coach. Could have been a great tutor for Atlanta Hawks “BIG” men “not named” Josh, Zsa Zsa, or Ivan!!!

Robert R.

August 7th, 2012
3:41 pm

I was a great fan of Mr. Roundfield when he played for the Hawks. I’m thankful for his life, and send condolences to his family and friends.


August 7th, 2012
3:41 pm

Roundfield has spent the past few years in the engineering business here in Atlanta. I had the honor of teaming with him and his company on several projects. Talked to him on the phone before meeting him and wondered is this “the Dan Roundfield?”. Soft spoken and a true gentleman. Finally met him and it was obvious he was “the Dan Roundfield”. What a class act. Humble but confident; first class in everything he did. A sad, sad day.

[...] has drowned while …Former NBA All-Star Roundfield Drowns While Swimming Off ArubaBloombergAtlanta Hawks: Former Hawks All-Star Dan Roundfield drowns in ArubaAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Former Hawks star Roundfield drowns in ArubaYahoo! Sportsall 120 [...]


August 7th, 2012
3:45 pm

Very sad. My prayers go out to his family.

[...] time with the Atlanta Hawks in the early 1980s, has drowned while swimming on vacation in Aruba, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (via SLAM). The report said Roundfield’s wife became distressed while swimming at Baby Beach and [...]

Astro Joe

August 7th, 2012
3:50 pm

Great photo selection (BTW), since I remembered Dan wearing those classic high-tube socks. I can’t remember the name of the Buck in the picture… it looks like he is about to get schooled (lol).


August 7th, 2012
4:01 pm


Exactly!! No way, according to that pic, that Buck player was gonna be able to do ANYTHING after Mr. Roundfield’s


August 7th, 2012
4:03 pm

AJ, I think that was Paul Mokeski, a Bill Simmons favorite from that era.


August 7th, 2012
4:07 pm

I remember Dan’s first words for the press, when Dominique started practicing with the Hawks: “When I kept seeing Nique’s tennis shoes in my face, I knew he was special . . .”

When a man’s sister-in-law calls him a “sweetheart,” he must have been a good man.

RIP Dan.

[...] in ArubaYahoo! SportsFormer NBA All-Star Roundfield Drowns While Swimming Off ArubaBusinessweekAtlanta Hawks: Former Hawks All-Star Dan Roundfield drowns in ArubaAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)CBSSports.comall 162 news [...]

Last Word n Sports

August 7th, 2012
4:18 pm

The Buck guarding Roundfield in the picture is former Boston Celtic center and Hall of Famer Dave Cowens traded to Milwaukee at the tail end of his career. RIP Dan Roundfield. I remember him along with fast Eddie Johnson, Tree Rollins, and John Drew, pre-Dominique.


August 7th, 2012
4:21 pm

You’d be hard pressed to find a more respected player in the annals of Atlanta sports history than Mr. Roundfield. He was a true professional on and off the court. This is a day of mourning for all Hawks fans.


August 7th, 2012
4:21 pm