Hornets Announce Plans to Honor Rick Bonnell

Hornets Establish Annual $10,000 Scholarship With Applications Starting Today, Introduce New Team Award & Rename Media Entrance After Longtime Charlotte Observer Beat Writer

Apply for the Rick Bonnell Memorial Scholarship

October 19, 2021 – The Charlotte Hornets announced today plans to honor the legacy and impact made on the organization, its fans and the city of Charlotte by former Charlotte Observer Hornets beat writer Rick Bonnell. An award-winning sportswriter for more than 33 years at The Observer whose coverage of the Hornets spanned from the franchise’s inaugural 1988-89 season through the 2020-21 campaign, Bonnell passed away on June 1 at the age of 63. 

In an effort to recognize Bonnell’s commitment to journalism, love of the NBA and passion for mentoring young reporters, the Hornets have established several tributes in his honor.  

The Charlotte Hornets Foundation has created the Rick Bonnell Memorial Scholarship that will award $10,000 annually to a journalism student enrolled at a North Carolina college or university. Journalism students can apply online starting today. Applications will be accepted until November 30. The winner will be selected by a panel consisting of Hornets staff members, former Charlotte Observer colleagues and Bonnell’s children, Jack and Claire. The funding for this year’s $10,000 was supplied by donations made to the Charlotte Hornets Foundation in Bonnell’s memory.

Starting with the 2021-22 season, the Rick Bonnell Award will be given annually to a Hornets player that best represents himself and the franchise with professionalism and cooperation with regards to his interactions with the media. There will be an on-court trophy presentation with the award winner prior to a Hornets home game. 

The Spectrum Center media and employee entrance will be rebranded as the Rick Bonnell Media & Employee Entrance. A photo collage of images from Bonnell’s career will greet media members on the event level as they make their way to the media work rooms. 

The Hornets will recognize Bonnell with a video tribute and moment of silence at the team’s 2021 Home Opener vs. the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, October 20.  


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