In June, long-time Charlotte Observer reporter Rick Bonnell passed away at the age of 63. Bonnell served as the Hornets beat writer from the team’s first season through their most recent one, and the sudden loss shocked the community.
On Tuesday, the Hornets announced their plans to honor Bonnell this season, which include a scholarship, an annual award, and the naming of the media entrance at the Spectrum Center in honor of Bonnell.
Here’s more from the team’s release.
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 team will also honor Bonnell with a moment of silence and video tribute prior to the home opener against the Pacers on Wednesday.
This is quite a respectful set of gestures from the Hornets, and we tip our cap to the organization as they honor Bonnell’s life and work.