Dominique Wilkins Wrote To The Times, Unsolicited, A Touching Tribute To His Late Teammate Dan Roundfield

It's important to note that this New York Times feature isn't about famous people who died this year. It's regular people, with photos and remembrances submitted by their friends and family. And there, barely noticeable between a "devoted wife and mother" and an Egyptian immigrant doctor, is Dan Roundfield, the former NBA player who drowned in August trying to rescue his wife from rough seas.

The brief note accompanying the photo was written by Dominique Wilkins, who played with Roundfield on the Hawks for two seasons. This wasn't commissioned by the Times—it was just Wilkins reaching out when he saw an opportunity to publicly honor his friend and teammate.

His tribute reads, in part,

When one looks at this image, they instinctively think of Dan the Atlanta Hawks player, the tenacious defender and the NBA All-Star. He was certainly all of those things, but for those of us who knew him, we look at this image and think of Dan the selfless leader, the husband, the father and the fearless teammate and friend. Dan lost his life this year at the age of 59 saving his wife of 37 years from drowning on the beaches of Aruba while on a family vacation. In his last moments, as he himself was fighting for his life, Dan fearlessly lived and died for his family, which is all he ever really wanted.

H/T NYCLefty