The Hornets announced Tuesday the creation of a $10,000 scholarship for a North Carolina journalism student in honor of the late Rick Bonnell, a beat reporter at The Charlotte Observer who covered the NBA in Charlotte for more than 30 years.
Bonnell passed away in June at age 63. He was a go-to source for team news given his deep knowledge of the Charlotte Hornets, a franchise he covered for consecutive years beginning with its inaugural season in 1988-89 through the team’s 2020-21 season.
In addition to the scholarship, the Hornets will honor Bonnell’s life and legacy with a video tribute and moment of silence at the team’s 2021-22 home opener on Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers. The media and employee entrance at Spectrum Center will also be renamed the “Rick Bonnell Media & Employee Entrance” and will feature a photo collage of images from Bonnell’s career.
Additionally, the team will present an annual Rick Bonnell Award to a Hornets player “that best represents himself and the franchise with professionalism and cooperation with regards to his interactions with the media,” the Hornets announced.
This year’s scholarship award will be funded by donations made to the Charlotte Hornets Foundation in Bonnell’s memory. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a journalism student enrolled at a North Carolina college or university.
Eligible journalism students are able to apply starting today through Nov. 30. The winner will be selected by a panel that consists of Hornets staff members, former Charlotte Observer colleagues and Bonnell’s children, Jack and Claire.