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Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012

Former All-Star Roundfield drowns

AP

SAN JUAN — Dan Roundfield, an NBA veteran who had three consecutive All-Star seasons, has drowned off the Caribbean island of Aruba while helping his wife as she struggled in rough water. He was 59.

News photo
Tragic end: Former NBA All-Star Dan Roundfield, seen here playing for the Atlanta Hawks in 1982, died Monday in Aruba at 59. AP

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 said. "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 203-cm 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.



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