Former CMU standout, ex-NBA All-Star drowns in Caribbean
By BEN FOX Associated Press
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Detroit native, Central Michigan standout and ex-NBA All-Star Dan Roundfield has drowned off the Caribbean island of Aruba. He was 59.
Roundfield, who played 11 professional seasons with Indiana, Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, 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.
"It's a real tragedy," Larmonie said. "He drowned saving his wife."
Bernie Roundfield, who said she was helped to safety by a U.S. tourist snorkeling nearby, said in an interview that the couple, who live in the Atlanta area, had come to the island with their two grandchildren.
The couple had visited Aruba nearly 20 times and were caught off guard by the strong currents at the swimming area known as "Baby Beach," even though they had been there many times in the past, she said.
"We always go to Baby Beach, and we go there because it's so safe," she told The Associated Press. "It happened so fast."
Bernie Roundfield was treated for shock after the incident and Larmonie said the government had provided a social worker to assist her and other family members as they remained on the island Tuesday.
Julia Roundfield, a sister-in-law of the athlete, who lives in Detroit, said members of the former athlete's extended family were still trying to get details of the incident.
"He was a real sweet guy," Julia Roundfield said. "He really was a sweetheart."
His wife said he will be remembered as a family man.
"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."
A 6-foot-8 forward-center out of Detroit, Roundfield played for Central Michigan in college and started his pro career with Indiana, which was then in the ABA. He played 11 professional seasons. Besides the Pacers, he had stints with Atlanta, Detroit and Washington and averaged 15.2 point per game for his NBA career.
Roundfield was selected as an All-Star in 1980, 1981 and 1982, when he was playing for the Hawks.
Friends and colleagues mourned an athlete that they said was known for physical play but a gentle nature. "Danny represented the Hawks with dignity and pride both on and off the court, and this is a tragic loss for us all," team General Manager Danny Ferry said in a statement.
Former Hawks teammate Dominique Wilkins called Roundfield the "most honest and upfront person I knew," in a statement released by the team. "He taught me how to be a professional and took me under his wing," he said. "My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, I will truly miss him."
In addition to his wife, Roundfield is survived by his sons Christopher and Corey and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements had not been finalized.
Larmonie said Baby Beach is generally safe but can be deceptive. The water can get treacherous out beyond the reef in rough weather.
"It was a really bad day to go outside the reef," he said.
In August 2011, an American tourist, Gary Giordano of Gaithersburg, Maryland, reported that his companion, Robyn Gardner of Frederick, Maryland, disappeared while snorkeling near Baby Beach. Police detained Giordano on suspicion of involvement in her death but he was released for lack of evidence and returned to the U.S.
Associated Press writers Jeff Martin and Charles Odum in Atlanta contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 11:13 AM EDT2013-05-17 15:13:54 GMT
Michigan State Police troopers made a traffic stop on Thursday morning that took a strange twist -- they say a pair inside that vehicle admitted they were on their way to "shoot a couple of people." TroopersMore >
Michigan State Police troopers made a traffic stop on Thursday morning that took a strange twist - they say a pair inside that vehicle admitted they were on their way to "shoot a couple of people."More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 4:42 PM EDT2013-05-19 20:42:34 GMT
A bomb threat forced shoppers to evacuate the Saginaw Township Walmart Sunday afternoon. The store on Brockway Road received a threat. Police said it turned out to be nothing.Police and fire respondedMore >
A bomb threat forced shoppers to evacuate the Saginaw Township Walmart Sunday afternoon. The store on Brockway Road received a threat. Police said it turned out to be nothing.More >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information on obituaries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends in Mid-Michigan. Death notices are displayed during theMore >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends who have lost loved ones.More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:06 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:06:25 GMT
Picture by Jason Bleshenski
A dark plume of smoke could be seen around Bay City Sunday afternoon. Firefighters responded to Straits Wood Treating on Wilder Road around 3:20 p.m.Residents were urged to avoid the area. At the timeMore >
A dark plume of smoke could be seen around Bay City Sunday afternoon. Firefighters responded to Straits Wood Treating on Wilder Road around 3:20 p.m.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:03:14 GMT
Michigan State Police are on the scene of a deadly accident. It happened just before five Friday evening at 10139 S. Sheridan in Genesee County's Gaines Township. MSP believes speed was a factor in theMore >
One teen is dead, 2 others in critical condition after car crash. More >
A Monday morning police chase down Saginaw Township's Bay Road ended with a short foot chase in a field behind the Mackinaw Academy. Police were called around 10 a.m. after a man was allegedly caughtMore >
A Monday morning police chase down Saginaw Township's Bay Road ended with a short foot chase in a field behind the Mackinaw Academy.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 2:44 PM EDT2013-05-17 18:44:51 GMT
By ED WHITE, Associated Press A Sanilac County woman gained the sympathy and admiration of her community as the subject of a newspaper's award-winning series about surviving rape. People and organizationsMore >
A Sanilac County woman gained the sympathy and admiration of her community as the subject of a newspaper's award-winning series about surviving rape. More >