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.

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299 comments Add your comment


August 7th, 2012
8:04 pm

See pics here at

R.I.P Dan.


August 7th, 2012
8:23 pm


[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Just saying..

August 7th, 2012
8:34 pm

A man’s man. Rest in peace.


August 7th, 2012
8:34 pm

Bummer. Dan Rounfield was a great Hawk. Great ambassador for the team and the game. Heartbreaking.

[...] Dan Roundfield, a 12-year NBA veteran, tragically died off the coast of Aruba yesterday while trying to save his wife from choppy waters while they were swimming. The couple was on vacation in Aruba. Roundfield managed to save his wife, but he was swept out to sea according to multiple news reports. [...]

M Manley

August 7th, 2012
8:48 pm

Dan Roundfield was a class act basketball player: not only on the court but off the court as well.

rest in peace danny...

August 7th, 2012
8:53 pm

you were always one of my favorite hawks. he was a hero as a player and he died as a hero.



August 7th, 2012
9:02 pm

Wow! Every day is a gift……

Tom Thurston

August 7th, 2012
9:03 pm

Dan was the consumate pro. Dominique recently said he was the best player he played with during his career in Atlanta.Thanks for the memories and RIP big man.


August 7th, 2012
9:08 pm

So sad. A great player and man. RIP


August 7th, 2012
9:14 pm

All- Hawks Team
C- Bob Petite
PF – Dan Roundfield
SF- Dominque Wilkins
SG Pistol Pete
PG – Jeff Teague (just kidding)

PG Lou Hudson

Bench: John Drew, Eddie Johnson, Joe Johnson, Steve Smith, Kevin Willis, Tree Rollins, Dikembe Mutombo, Mookie Blaylock


August 7th, 2012
9:15 pm

RIP Danny….Used to watch him and Nique as a kid

[...] Michael Cunningham of the AJC with the horrible news. [...]


August 7th, 2012
9:25 pm

RIP Danny, will be praying for the family.
@Bernie, you are right, there is something very wrong over here!.

Ken Stallings

August 7th, 2012
9:26 pm

Very sad. The man died a true hero risking his life to save his wife. How tragic. But, the measure of a man is always what he does for others and Danny Rounds did his all for his wife. I fondly remember watching the Hawks teams from this era and they played an excellent brand of basketball and the added value of Skip Caray as the play-by-play man was superb. Back in the days when WTBS gave sports fans a true smorghisborg of sports. At one point, you could watch the Hawks, Braves, and Flames play. It was heaven!

Never knew the man personally, but it is so nice to hear so many who did all say he was a kind-hearted person. He will be missed in many ways!

hind tit

August 7th, 2012
9:28 pm

I wish today’s players could see how bad they are compared to players like Roundfield. I never missed a Hawks game on T.V. when these guy’s played because they played defense first and Roundfield was right up there with the very best. Nobody could reject a shot like he could. I never watch pro basketball now because it’s become a game of only offense which is just half a game which is the way coaching is from park and rec. through college. Today’s players are not as good as they think they are be cause they play only park and rec. ball and are paid big money and the fans pay big money to watch it.

DC from Conyers

August 7th, 2012
9:45 pm

God Bless Dan and his family. Such a tragic accident. Thanks for the Memories, class guy. dc


August 7th, 2012
9:46 pm


Bob Pettit was a PF, and Lou Hudson was a SG. Just FYI.


August 7th, 2012
9:59 pm

This heartbreaking news. In high school, everybody on the court wore the wristbands……..we even called them “Roundfields”. To this day when I hear the term “power forward”, I think of Dan Roundfield. Condolelences to his wife and family. He will be truly missed by all of us from that era.


August 7th, 2012
10:01 pm

RIP Roundtree

Don’t ever go to Aruba … everyone from the USA goes there and, don’t return. geez-us!!!


August 7th, 2012
10:02 pm

* Roundfield


August 7th, 2012
10:02 pm

This is very sad. I was at Baby Beach when this happened. I actually saved the two grandchildren who were stranded on the rocks but I did not know what else was going on. An hour later the helicopter started the search. Not a quick response at all. Very sad to see the family during this awful time.


August 7th, 2012
10:07 pm

Man, this is a shoot in the guts!

“Rounds” literally saved this franchise when Truck Robinson left the Hawks in his one and done season. When Drew, Eddie Johnson, and backup Terry Furlow were literally subsidizing small drug cartels; Roundfield and Armond Hill were holding a very fragile locker room together…

From one Huron to one Chippewa, may you find eternal rest! A model for what exemplifies a man to your very last human effort! Thank you!!!


August 7th, 2012
10:09 pm


August 7th, 2012
10:34 pm

RIP & God bless his family.

[...] NBA center Dan Roundfield sacrificed his life on Monday for the woman he loved, as the “Atlanta Journal Constitution” has reported that he drowned off the coast of Aruba, after making sure his wife was safely [...]


August 7th, 2012
10:54 pm

Bring Dwight home…

“Not only do the Hawks have the cap space and hometown ties to recruit Howard, they also have two of his closest friends on their roster. Josh Smith and Anthony Morrow have known Howard for years and they could help the Hawks lure the big man next summer.”

“Last summer, Howard was asked to name five players who he would like to have on his team. Howard named Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis and Morrow, showing just how close he is with the shooting guard and how much he respects his game. Morrow believes the Hawks have a chance to land Howard, but says he doesn’t have any inside knowledge.”

““With me and Josh having a relationship with Dwight, it’s a possibility,” Morrow said. “It’s always a possibility, but that’s something that they’ll have to take care of upstairs. Mr. Ferry is doing a great job so far. Anything is possible, you never know. It’d be great with the relationship that us three have, and (fellow Atlanta native) Lou Williams too, especially from a chemistry standpoint. That’s a good core group of guys right there to build a team around. It’d be great, but there’s no telling what will happen.””


August 7th, 2012
10:54 pm

Sam, you need to turn off the TV and stop trying to think of conspiracies. How long do YOU think it should take to find a drowning victim?…is 1 hour too long in your mind? What happened in that hour — well, maybe the emergency rescue people had to get to their boat, get their gear on, boat to the site of the drowning, and start searching THE OCEAN for the location of a body that may be on the surface or on the ocean floor – or in this case, under some rocks.

You should try looking for bodies some time. Its gruesome, not enjoyable, and not like in the TV shows.


August 7th, 2012
10:55 pm


August 7th, 2012
10:58 pm

“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.”

I was there at this series. Electric is all I can say.


August 7th, 2012
11:00 pm

Dudes, really let’s remember the man… They’ll be time to blog about the Howard and reasons behind the tragedy of the day on another blog…


August 7th, 2012
11:01 pm

Roundtree could hit the 18 ft. jumper off the glass like nobody I can remember. It literally would “kiss’ the glass on the way in.

What a great player. Lot’s of fond memories.

Nazan Yar

August 7th, 2012
11:07 pm

I had the great pleasure of getting to know Danny through work over the last year. One of the more tender-hearted people I’ve ever been around, and a man always willing to do anything for you.

For Doc – Go Red Wings! You’ll be missed.


August 7th, 2012
11:07 pm

Those who saw Danny play know he gave the Hawks a respectability after a very trying time of whiffing on David Thompson, Webster – getting Givens and Al Wood in the draft – and basically being a pariah after Maravich, Lou Hudson, and Walt Bellamy, for a few years.

Danny was a class act. Solid. No complaining – just lunch pail, hustle, and a very good BB player.

Haven’t checked his stats – but he was going to give you somewhere around 20 and 9 a nite. And never complain.


August 7th, 2012
11:08 pm

I think we somehow whiffed on Dr J somewhere in there also – maybe drafted him and he went ABA or something? Can’t remember.


August 7th, 2012
11:10 pm

We may have even whiffed on Artis Gilmore. He was Shaq before Shaq. Maybe we didn’t whiff on him however – I just remember we had a very bad run with Cotton Fitzsimmons and some rough teams.

That playoff series was adrenaline this town had not had in a long time.

Cheryl Murray

August 7th, 2012
11:29 pm

RIP cousin Dan. My g-baby is following your footsteps. She was playing basketball since she was 6 years old. She is now 16. She plays school ball and AAU. My prayers and condolence for my Aunt Lousie and cousins.

Preston Dennard

August 7th, 2012
11:32 pm

My heart aches, my eyes are wet with despair and my friend is no longer here to laugh, joke and share stories about our families, sons, and grandchildren. Though we both excelled in different sports, our love and respect towards each other were as genuine as any man could have. God has an early gift in one of the greatest and truest of all gentelmen. Love you Big D!

NFL Alumni


August 7th, 2012
11:54 pm

So very sad.a great player,a great man RIP Danny

Ex-Hawk Roundfield, 59, Drowns

August 8th, 2012
12:10 am

[...] 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 [...]

Stump OReilly

August 8th, 2012
12:16 am

What a great great player Roundfield was! My favorite player because of his great attitude and relentless drive for rebounds. He didn’t complain. He just went to work every game. Died a hero trying to save his wife’s life. God bless his family and the Hawks who played with him.


August 8th, 2012
12:24 am

These blogs show a grand legacy for Dan. I have incredibly fond memories of this gentle giant. Here are some to share. Walking down hallways, people would frequently look up and ask if he was a basketball player and he was humble by replying he did a while ago without going into details about how great he once was. He laughed when people would mistaken him for Tree Rollins. He had a deep booming voice that seemed tailor made for radio but he claimed that he had stuttered when he was younger and it would not work on the radio. He had a geat knowledge of NBA history that he and I would often debate about. He even found an error on an ESPN article years ago that they had to write a retraction about. Rounds told me that he would ask his coaches to defend the superstars of his era. This included a time when he chose to defend a white hot Larry Bird and told me that it was easy to guard him because he knew his moves but Larry still got his share of points. Dan claimed he was a far better baseball player in high school than basketball and that he thought he would make it further in baseball if not for his height. He was so dedicated to his wife, Bernie, who was so frequently at his side and often seemed to quietly admire her husband when adorIng fans would monopolize his time right in front of her. He was involved with charity work in the metro Atlanta area and thank him for exposing my nephew to one of his Tourets Syndrome basketball charities from his side on the bench. He was recently given a long deserved place in a Hall of Fame (Michigan Sports Hall of Fame) with the induction next week he deserves the same in Georgia and with the Hawks for his overall contributions I knew him well and my heart goes out to Bernie, Cory and Chris. Rounds has an immortal legacy that his family can always remember.


August 8th, 2012
12:50 am

I can’t think of any Hawk I loved more than Dan. One of “Hubie’s Hustlers.” How exciting it was when the Hawks took the Bullets to the brink in ‘79 in the Capital Centre against Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, Bobby Dandridge. I think President Carter was at the game 7. Cover of Sports Illustrated back when that was a huge deal. How very sad how his life ended, but he went out with a bang — trying to save someone’s life. Rest in peace, Dan, and God bless the surviving family and friends.


August 8th, 2012
1:10 am



August 8th, 2012
1:13 am

I just found out I lost a cousin to an auto accident today so I share some pain with the Roundfield family. (FYI: My cousin’s name was Nic, a rising senior at Armstrong State university). I want to extend my condolences to the Roundfields and let them know that Dan was among my first Georgia sports heroes. I moved to Georgia in 78 for half a year and became a Hawks fan by watching Tree, Roundfield, Steve Hawes and Charlie Criss take on stars like the “Big E” Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. I’m thankful Roundfield showed me what good basketball and sportsmanship are about.

Lunch Pail & Hard Hat

August 8th, 2012
5:18 am

A great player, and my all-time favorite Hawk. Take your rest in peace, Danny.


August 8th, 2012
5:52 am

I remember Roundfield even though I live in another state but due to I would watch him and those Hawks teams on TBS in the early 80’s. Looking back at that era, the late 70’s early 80’s were very physical and tough teams during that area. Thing with Roundfield is that he had very good timing in blocking shots and gave it his all when he played. That Bullet series was even though I was young was a very entertaining series. I will say those 70’s Bullet teams were very good

Unfortunately Roundfield doesnt get his just due because outside of the year they went 7 games with the Bullets in 78-79 and 79-80, the Hawks teams were not very good. There really isnt any player that is playing in the NBA today that he reminds me of and he could not probably play in todays NBA since it is very soft. It is like comparing sugar as far as NBA in the past to artificial sweetner to the NBA today. It doesnt compare.

RIP and God Bless to you and your family Mr Roundfield.


August 8th, 2012
6:17 am

I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple or three years ago, when he came to our office representing the engineering firm he worked for. He was a great guy, very friendly. As Someone once said. “Greater love had no man than one who would lay his life down for his friends,” or in this case, his wife. We’ve lost a hero. In words of the “lolcats,” I haz a sad.”


August 8th, 2012
7:16 am

One of the best, one of my all time favorite Hawk players. RIP.!!