Hawks great Dan Roundfield dies at 59

Future Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins remembers Dan Roundfield as a mentor and close friend.

Dan Roundfield, a three-time NBA All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks, drowned Monday in Aruba saving his wife's life. He was 59.

Roundfield and his wife, Bernadette, were swimming, went beyond a protected reef area and were caught in rough water, John Larmonie, an Aruba police spokesman, told the Detroit Free Press. Roundfield got his wife safely to some rocks, but he was swept away in the current, Larmonie said.

Roundfield's body was found trapped by rocks underwater about 90 minutes later by search teams, according to the newspaper.

Roundfield is survived by his wife, sons Corey and Christopher and grandchildren, the Hawks said in confirming Roundfield's death.

He was remembered fondly as a mentor by the greatest player in team history.

Roundfield was an established veteran when Dominique Wilkins, a likely Hall of Famer, entered the league in 1982.

“Danny was the most honest and upfront person I knew and I’m very stunned at hearing the news of his death,” Wilkins said in a statement released by the organization. “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.”

Roundfield spent six seasons of his 11-year NBA career with the Hawks (1978-84). His best offensive season came in 1982-83, when he averaged 19 points per game. In 1979-80, he earned second-team All-NBA honors. He also was a three-time All-Defensive Team selection.

Several years ago, Roundfield, who maintained a residence in Atlanta despite leaving the Hawks to play for Detroit and Washington in his final few seasons, was interviewed by former Hawks assistant web editor Micah Hart.

In the undated interview, which is still on the team’s website, Roundfield said one of his favorite memories of the NBA was playing with Wilkins.

“My second favorite memory was playing with Dominique Wilkins for two seasons,” he said. “They didn’t call him ‘The Human Highlight Film’ for nothing.”

Roundfield's favorite memory was the Hawks' seven-game, second-round playoff series against Washington in ’79.

Roundfield compared himself in the interview to current NBA players Ben Wallace and also Amar’e Stoudamire, although he did so with a laugh, saying he did not believe he was as good.

A Central Michigan graduate, Roundfield said his post-NBA career was as a business development manager for an environmental engineering company.

“The Atlanta Hawks family is deeply saddened by the passing of Danny Roundfield, who died Monday, August 6, in Aruba,” Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. “Danny represented the Hawks with dignity and pride both on and off the court and this is a tragic loss for us all. Our hearts go out to the Roundfield family . . . "

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