Earlier, I linked to the tragic news that former Detroit and Central Michigan basketball great Dan Roundfield drowned while vacationing with his wife in Aruba. In the hours since that was reported, a number of touching tributes to Roundfield have popped up online and I wanted to give a sampling.
“This is a tragic loss for the Central Michigan family,” Central Michigan Director of Athletics Dave Heeke said. “Dan was not only one of our all-time great basketball players but one of our all-time greatest athletes. Our sympathies go out to Dan’s family, all his close friends and those that grew to love him throughout our basketball program.”
He was elected into the Central Michigan Athletics Hall of Fame in 1985, and was set to be one of 24 inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, Aug. 16. His jersey number 32 is retired at Central Michigan.
The 6 foot, 8 inch Roundfield was a premier player at Central Michigan and went on to a 12-year NBA career with three All-Star selections.
Sad to hear about the passing of Dan Roundfield. For the young bucks, David West reminds me of Roundfield.
— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) August 7, 2012
I remember him for his unique look on the court, his #32, his tenacity and excellent defense. His was one of the first NBA teams I ever saw on a nightly basis, being in Florida and thanks to Mr. Ted Turner broadcasting Hawks games all over on Channel 17.
I got to meet Dan Roundfield when he, among many other Atlanta greats, gathered for the All-Star festivities in Atlanta in 2003. I promptly perturbed him by mis-speaking and asking about his trade from the Hawks to the Bullets, when he was obviously part of the important 1984 deal with the Pistons that brought Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston to Atlanta, key parts of the Air Force teams under Mike Fratello. Despite my faux-pas, Roundfield graciously answered many questions about his time as a Hawk, his current role with a private company back in Atlanta and Hubie Brown.
Roundfield, who played his high school basketball at Detroit Chadsey, was 59. According to media reports, Roundfield went into the water to help his wife while swimming at Baby Beach. His wife reached land safely.
Roundfield, a 6-foot-8 forward, is a member of the CMU Athletics Hall of Fame, inducted in 1985. He is scheduled to be inducted Thursday, Aug. 16, into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. His No. 32 has been retired at CMU.
I first recall seeing Roundfield play for the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden in 1978. The Hawks had an interesting and fun team. Coached by Hubie Brown and Mike Fratello they had guys like Doc Rivers, Tree Rollins and Dominique Wilkins. Roundfield was a tough inside player with some hops. He had a couple of dunks around the basket the game I watched live. Roundfield could post you up, run the floor and shoot the mid-range. Roundfield could defend very well and he was one of the better rebounders in the league. To me Roundfield was very underrated during his time with the Hawks. Roundfield brought his hardhat and lunch pail every night; a typical blue-collar guy from the city of Detroit.
Roundfield was the backbone of the Atlanta Hawks.
Great basketball player, selfless human being. Most of us have the chance to be the latter, at least.
‘It’s a real tragedy,’ said John Larmonie, a spokesman for Aruba police. ‘He drowned saving his wife.’
Julia Roundfield, a sister-in-law of the athlete, who lives in Detroit, said the family was still trying to get to the bottom of what happened.
‘He was a real sweet guy,’ she said. ‘He really was a sweetheart.’
The player’s wife, Bernie, was treated for shock after scrambling out of the water.
The Roundfield’s have two sons, Corey and Christopher, and a number of grandchildren.
R.I.P. Dan Roundfield was true professional God bless you!
— Kenny Anderson (@chibbs_1) August 7, 2012
Feel free to add your memories of Roundfield in the comments.