CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Observer sportswriter Rick Bonnell passed away Tuesday. He was 63-years-old. Bonnell was an award-winning sportswriter at The Charlotte Observer for more than 33-years, according to the Observer’s website.
The Charlotte Hornets released the following statements today regarding the passing of Bonnell, the Hornets long-time beat writer for the Charlotte Observer.
Charlotte Hornets Organization
“The Charlotte Hornets organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Rick Bonnell. The Hornets long-time beat writer for the Charlotte Observer, dating back to the team’s inaugural 1988-89 season, Rick covered the team with fairness, professionalism and unmatched insight for the last 30+ years. Generations of Hornets fans throughout the Carolinas gained valuable knowledge and information about not only the Hornets, but also the NBA, through his consistent daily coverage. Rick was respected throughout the NBA by players, coaches and front office staff, as well as his peers within the media who elected him to serve as the president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association. In addition to breaking the latest Hornets news, Rick always took pride in sharing the latest happenings of his children, Jack and Claire. We send our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and Charlotte Observer colleagues. Rick will be sorely missed at Spectrum Center.”
Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan
“I’m very sad to learn about Rick’s passing. Rick was a staple at Hornets games, dating back to my playing days at the old Charlotte Coliseum. He prided himself on being fair and honest in his reporting, and I truly respected that about him. Rick became the source for Hornets news in Charlotte, which speaks to his talent and professionalism. The Hornets’ family will miss Rick’s friendly face at our games. I send my condolences to his family and friends.”
Charlotte Hornets Center Cody Zeller
“Rick Bonnell was one of the first people that I talked to when I walked off stage on NBA Draft night in 2013. Since then, over the course of my 8 years in Charlotte, I’ve seen him every time I’ve walked off the court from a shootaround, practice or game. I was always impressed with his passion for writing, reporting and his love for Charlotte Hornets basketball. He truly brought our organization and team to the community and it will not feel the same without him, he will be greatly missed.”
Charlotte Hornets Guard Terry Rozier
“On one of my first days in Charlotte, I sat down for an interview with Rick. What I expected to be like every other interview I’d done in my career, was more of a conversation and welcome to Charlotte than a media obligation. Since that time, Rick has been engaging and fair in every interaction and passionate about covering my teammates and I. Next season in Charlotte won’t be the same without him. My thoughts are with Rick’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”
Former Charlotte Hornets Forward Marvin Williams
“I spent six seasons of my career in Charlotte with Rick covering my teammates and myself every single day. From our locker room here, to arenas all over the country and all the way to China and Paris. Rick was defined by his passion and his respect for the people he covered. Rick was professional and diligent in covering the Hornets, but he became a friend as well. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his passing. He will be in my family and I’s thoughts.”