28 Teams in 28 Days: Meet The Canton Charge

By Jake Winderman | August 23, 2018

Team: Canton Charge

First Season: 2001-2002 (Huntsville Flight)

Affiliate: Cleveland Cavaliers

Location: Canton, Ohio

Arena: Canton Memorial Civic Center

Head Coach: Nate Reinking

Former Franchise Names: Huntsville Flight (2001-2005), Albuquerque Thunderbirds (2005-2010), New Mexico Thunderbirds (2010-2011)

Mascot: Pozzie

2018-2019 Finish: 22-28 (4th in Central Division) 

2018-19 NBA Call-Ups: Jaron Blossomgame (to Cavaliers on a Two-Way Contract), Bonzie Colson (to Bucks on a Two-Way Contract), Kobi Simmons (to Cavaliers on a 10-Day Contract)

Current Two-Way Players: Dean Wade (Kansas State)

Notable Alumni: Quinn Cook, Ante Zizic, Joe Harris, Caleb Swanigan, Cedi Osman, Rashad Vaughn, C.J. Wilcox, Jaron Blossomgame, Kobi Simmons, Kendrick Perkins, Marcus Thornton, Jordan McRae, Cristiano Felicio, Tim Hardaway Jr.

The Canton Charge are one of three founding franchises to remain in the NBA G League today along with the Austin Spurs and Oklahoma City Blue. The Charge were first known as the Huntsville Flight, a name the team played under from 2001 to 2005. The Flight played their games at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, qualifying for the playoffs in their final two seasons. Huntsville reached the 2004 NBA G League Finals before losing to the Asheville Altitude, now known as the Oklahoma City Blue, 108-106.

In 2005, the Flight moved to Albuquerque, rebranding themselves as the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, a name they kept from 2005 until 2010. The Thunderbirds won the 2006 NBA G League championship during their first season in the southwest, taking down the Forth Worth Flyers 119-108 en route to their first ever title.

Before the 2010-2011 season, the Thunderbirds moved to Rio Rancho, New Mexico, renaming the team the New Mexico Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds played only one season in Rio Rancho at the Santa Ana Star Center, before being sold to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2011, the Thunderbirds were renamed the Canton Charge after the team was moved to Canton, Ohio by Dan Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner. The acquisition made the Charge the 5th team in NBA G League history to enter a single affiliation with an NBA franchise.

Since moving to Canton, the Charge have made the playoffs in 6 of the past 7 seasons, winning at least one playoff series 3 different times. In franchise history, the Charge have had 2 players named to the All-NBA G League First Team, 5 players named to the All-NBA G League Second Team and 4 players named to the All-NBA G League Third Team.

In 2017, Quinn Cook won the NBA G League All-Star Game MVP Award after posting an 18-point, 12-assist double-double. He also won the 2015-2016 NBA G League Rookie of the Year award, notching 19.6 points, 5.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game that season. John Holland won the final NBA G League Impact Player of the Year award during the 2016-2017 season, handed to the best G League player who joined their respective team midseason. Dar Tucker is the team’s sole winner of the NBA G League Most Improved Player Award, taking home the trophy following the 2010-2011 season.

The Charge’s staff and front office have taken home multiple hardware as well. Alex Jansen won the 2012-2013 NBA G League Coach of the Year award, while Senior Vice President Mike Levy won the 2016 NBA G League Team Executive of the Year Award.

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