Hawks History with the Stinger - Didn't You Used to Be Dan Roundfield

Didn't you used to be Dan Roundfield?
December 8, 2009

Recently a Hawks' fan approached a tall and distinguished traveler at Hartsfield Jackson Airport and asked him, "Didn't you used to be Dan Roundfield?" The former all-star power forward, who helped to popularize and solidify Hawks' basketball as a cornerstone of Atlanta's cultural structure, simply nodded his head and said, "Yes, I used to be him." Well, he is still Dan Roundfield and still makes appearances at Atlanta Hawks' games, but this time he and his wife Bernie are cheering for their favorite team and sharing the experience with their grandsons, Caden four years old and Cabot two.

It was not so long ago, 1978, that the city of Atlanta and the surrounding basketball community was excited by the signing of the missing link that would establish the Atlanta Hawks as one of the NBA's most respected teams. Dan Roundfield elevated the Hawks and basketball in the South. In the 1977-78 season a young Hawks' team scrapped their way to a 41-41 record behind the scoring of John Drew and outstanding play of two promising rookies named Eddie Johnson and Wayne "Tree" Rollins. The power forward that the organization craved decided to come to Atlanta.

Atlanta was not Roundfield's first choice. Organizations with longer histories of success and bigger fan bases had also made their offers. The Phoenix Suns and the Philadelphia 76ers were at the top of his list. Providence and his parents intervened. Dan Roundfield had been born and raised in Detroit and had reservations concerning the South and its infamous discriminatory history. His parents played a major role in his decision; both had been born and raised in Augusta, Georgia. They reassured him that life would be fine in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Hawks were well aware of Roundfield's impressive resume and even brighter future. After graduating from Central Michigan University, "Rounds" was drafted by the ABA's Indiana Pacers as the number 7 pick in the first round. He was also drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers but decided on Indiana. After three years in Indianapolis, Rounds made Atlanta his basketball and family home. His immediate impact was felt on the court and in the stands. Fans, friends, and foes saw Hawks' basketball in a new way. The team established a 46-36 regular season record and advanced to the Eastern Conference semi-finals before losing game 7 to the then reigning NBA champs led by Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. That season and creditability that was established marked the beginning of a new era of respectability for Atlanta Hawks' basketball. Free agents and developing young players became intrigued with the possibility of playing basketball in Atlanta.

Roundfield never regretted his decision to come to Atlanta. He explained, "I met a lot of nice people who became life-long friends, and I enjoyed playing for a charismatic owner, Ted Turner." On the court Roundfield was as highly regarded as any power forward in the game. He was a three time NBA all star, a 5 time all defensive team honoree, and a selection for an All NBA team. He was assigned to defend the opposing team's best offensive front court scorer. He defended small forwards, power forwards, and centers. He recalled his toughest match-up, "I would say the Dr. J was the most difficult guy in the NBA to defend. When his jumper was going, he was almost impossible to stop." Rounds quickly added a couple more names that flashed across his memory, Bernard King, Kevin McHale, and Moses Malone would also be on my list... Moses was so quick and strong.. and he went after every rebound."

Roundfield is impressed by the current team and shared some of his thoughts:

"I like Al Horford and see some similarities between myself and him. Josh Smith is one of the most gifted players in the league and can do things that most NBA players can't do. I think he can become a member of the All Defensive Team if he continues his commitment to play defense night in and night out. You have to want to defend the other team's best players and hold them to their averages or below. If it takes them a lot of shots to get their average, you have done your job. I think Josh can guard small forwards, power forwards, and some shooting guards. I would advise him to stay away from the centers as much as possible. I would like to see him block shots, keep the ball in play, and get the ball a little more often. Josh definitely has the talent; the rest is up to him."

Roundfield on the Hawks offseason transactions:
"I like the additions that the Hawks made. Jeff Teague was a good decision and will be the guard of the future. Joe Smith works hard and provides leadership. Jamal Crawford gives Joe Johnson a chance to rest and provides instant offense. I like the flexibility that he brings; he can handle the ball and allows the Hawks to move Joe to small forward for short periods of time when more offense is needed. Crawford was a great pick-up. I would like to see this team finish teams earlier; too often they allow bad teams to hang around. Otherwise, they are very good! I expect them to go deep into the playoffs."

Roundfield has a demanding schedule but still attends 15 to 20 games per year. He explained," I work in the engineering field for CDM INC.--- Camp Dresser McKee INC. They are one of the top ten engineering firms in the world. My major in college was Business Administration; I utilize some of my training as I now serve as a business development manager for our company. I still like to attend games and bring either my wife, Bernie, or my grandsons, Caden and Cabot. They really love Hawks' mascot, Sky Hawk, from a distance. Whenever he is close they hug very tightly around my neck, but they enjoy the game and the experience.

So, we now see that he used to be Dan Roundfield, and this former Atlanta Hawks' captain is still an integral part of the basketball culture that he helped to shape and define.

Oh yes, he is still Dan Roundfield--that will never change!

During his ten year NBA career, Mike Glenn played four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (1981-1985). He currently serves as postgame analyst for Hawks games on Fox Sports South. You can learn more about 'The Stinger" and his free basketball camp for the hearing impaired at his website MikeGlenn.com.