April 7, 2022 – The Charlotte Hornets announced today that forward Miles Bridges has been named the first recipient of the team’s inaugural Rick Bonnell Award. The Rick Bonnell Award, named after the team’s longtime Charlotte Observer beat writer who passed away suddenly in June 2021, will be given annually to a Hornets player that best represents himself and the franchise with professionalism and cooperation with his interactions with the media. Bridges received the award from Bonnell’s daughter, Claire Bonnell, during an on-court presentation prior to tonight’s Hornets game vs. Orlando. A 15-person panel of Charlotte media members voted on the award, with Bridges receiving 11 of the 15 votes.
“I’m honored to have been selected as the winner of the first Rick Bonnell Award,” said Bridges. “Rick covered me for the first three years of my career, and we had a great relationship. I appreciated his professionalism, his fair questions and his knowledge of the NBA. Thank you to the media members that cover our team. I respect the job that they do, and I appreciate them selecting me for this award.”
Throughout the 2021-22 NBA season, the Hornets have honored the legacy and impact that Bonnell made on the organization, its fans and the city of Charlotte. In addition to tonight’s award, the Charlotte Hornets Foundation created the Rick Bonnell Memorial Scholarship, an annual $10,000 scholarship whose first recipient was Noah Monroe, a Concord native and current journalism student at the University of North Carolina. The Spectrum Center media and employee entrance was rebranded as the Rick Bonnell Media & Employee Entrance, with a photo collage of images from Bonnell’s career greeting media members on the event level as they make their way to the media work rooms. The team recognized Bonnell with a video tribute and moment of silence at the team’s Home Opener in October. The Rick Bonnell Award and Rick Bonnell Memorial Scholarship will be awarded annually.