Michael Jordan leads tributes after NBA reporter's tragic death

·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
Tributes have flowed for veteran NBA reporter Rick Bonnell, including from the likes of Michael Jordan, after the 63-year-old was found dead in his home. Pictures: Charlotte Observer/Twitter/Getty Images
Tributes have flowed for veteran NBA reporter Rick Bonnell, including from the likes of Michael Jordan, after the 63-year-old was found dead in his home. Pictures: Charlotte Observer/Twitter/Getty Images

The NBA world is mourning the sudden death of highly respected reporter Rick Bonnell, who covered the Charlotte Hornets from the team's inception in 1988.

The 63-year-old was found dead in his home, a sad end for one of the most widely regarded reporters on the NBA beat.

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Bonnell covered the Hornets for hometown newspaper, The Charlotte Observer, for more than 30 years.

Widely regarded among the NBA community, his death was marked by a flood of tributes from basketball writers and players who dealt with him throughout his lengthy career.

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, who Bonnell interacted with as both a player and after his NBA retirement, paid tribute to the veteran reporter in a statement.

"I'm very sad to learn of Rick's passing," Jordan said.

"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."

Jordan's tribute was just one of many for the longtime reporter.

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ESPN's Jay Bilas said Bonnell was among the most professional reporters around.

"So profoundly sad to learn of the passing of my friend and fabulous writer Rick Bonnell," he said. 

"There was not a kinder soul in the business, nor a better pro. I always looked so forward to talking basketball and life with him. RIP my friend."

Mike Persinger, a former colleague of Bonnell's at the Observer, was also effusive in his praise for the former writer.

"Everyone should have a friend and colleague as kind, thoughtful and talented as the one we had in Rick Bonnell at the Observer," he wrote. 

"As deeply saddened as I am, his death is a reminder that if you treat people well, work hard and share knowledge, people notice."

Further tributes flowed on social media.

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Ben Simmons stars, Sixers advance in playoffs

Ben Simmons has answered his detractors in emphatic style with a triple-double as the Philadelphia 76ers advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs at the expense of the Washington Wizards.

The Australian star had 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists as the Sixers downed the Wizards 129-112 to claim a 4-1 series victory.

Seth Curry top-scored for Philadelphia with 30 points, Tobias Harris had 28 and veteran centre Dwight Howard (12 points and eight rebounds) stepped up admirably in the absence of Joel Embiid, who sat out the game with a knee injury.

Simmons had been slammed after only making five of 11 free-throw attempts in the game-four loss to the Wizards two days ago, with Washington players deliberately fouling him in the closing stages.

Ben Simmons bounced back from a poor free throw shooting night in Philadelphia's game four loss to close out the Washington Wizards with a triple-double. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ben Simmons bounced back from a poor free throw shooting night in Philadelphia's game four loss to close out the Washington Wizards with a triple-double. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Wizards again adopted the Hack-a-Ben approach in game five but the All-Star was much more reliable this time from the stripe, making five from eight, while also creating plays and making his attacks to the rim look silky smooth.

"I've got my teammates with me," said Simmons after registering his third career playoffs triple-double.

"They've all got my back, and I've got theirs.

"Everyone really stepped up."

Bradley Beal led the scoring for the Wizards with a game-high 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 24 and 10 assists.

Eastern Conference top seeds Philadelphia will play Atlanta starting next week, giving MVP contender Embiid more time to recover from his knee injury.

With AAP

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