NBA veteran and former Atlanta Hawk Dan Roundfield drowned last week while on vacation with his wife and two grandchildren — his funeral will be held tomorrow in Norcross, Georgia.
“Roundfield was swimming with his wife, Bernie, off the southeastern tip of Aruba on Monday [Aug. 6], 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 Atlanta All-Star was apparently swept away in a strong current as he tried to help his struggling wife, Larmonie said, according to the AP.
Along with her husband’s brave efforts, Bernie Roundfield was helped to safety by an American tourist snorkeling nearby.
Emergency rescue teams consisting of the Coast Guard, local police, firefighters, and volunteers searched for Dan, finding his body trapped by rocks underwater about 90 minutes later
“It’s a real tragedy,” Larmonie said. “He drowned saving his wife.”
“People knew he was a great husband, a great dad, a great grandfather,” Bernie Roundfield said. “They knew he would help his friends or any other person who needed help.”
New Hawks general Manager Danny Ferry expressed his condolences to the Roundfield family, and spoke highly of Dan, as a player, and a person.
“The Atlanta Hawks family is deeply saddened by the passing of Danny Roundfield,” Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement released by the organization. “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, his wife Bernadette, his two sons Christopher and Corey, and his grandchildren.”
Former Hawks great Dominique Wilkins praised his former teammate and also spoke highly of the type of man Roundfield was.
“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. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, I will truly miss him.”
Besides playing with the Hawks for six seasons from 1978-1983, Roundfield served stints with the Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, and Washington Bullets, during his 11 years of professional basketball. He averaged 15.2 points per game for his NBA career.
The Hawks announced that his funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross. The service is open to the public.
Viewing will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Gregory B. Levett and Sons Funeral Home in Lawrenceville.