The Canton Charge is an American professional basketball team based in Canton, Ohio, that competes in the NBA Development League. The Charge is owned by and is the minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and home games are held at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. The franchise was founded in 2001 as the Huntsville Flight, based in Huntsville, Alabama, before moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2005, where they were known as the Albuquerque Thunderbirds until 2010. The team won their first league championship while playing in Albuquerque, claiming the 2006 NBA D-League title. After playing the 2010–11 season in suburban Rio Rancho as the New Mexico Thunderbirds, the franchise was purchased by the Cavaliers and moved to Canton. Through the 2015–16 season, the Charge has one league title and one division championship.
The team was formed in 2001 as the Huntsville Flight based in Huntsville, Alabama, as a founding member of the NBA Development League, the affiliate minor league of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They played home games at the Von Braun Center. In their first two seasons, they failed to make the playoffs, but in their third they reached the NBA D-League Finals, losing to the Asheville Altitude. The team ended its tenure in Alabama at the conclusion of the 2004–05 season after finishing third in the league and making the playoffs.
The team moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and became the Albuquerque Thunderbirds beginning in the 2005–06 season. They played home games at Tingley Coliseum. In their first season in New Mexico, the team won the 2006 NBA D-League Championship by defeating the Fort Worth Flyers in the championship game. In the 2006-07 season, they again made the playoffs, but were defeated by the Colorado 14ers. The Thunderbirds moved in 2010 to the Santa Ana Star Center in suburban Rio Rancho and were re-branded as the New Mexico Thunderbirds. They played just one season in Rio Rancho, finishing ninth and failing to make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
It was announced on July 7, 2011 the Thunderbirds had been purchased by the Cleveland Cavaliers and were moving to Canton, Ohio, for the 2011–12 season. Alex Jensen was named the first head coach of the Charge on October 11. On October 13, the Canton Charge name, logo, colors, and court design were unveiled. On October 20, the team announced the first two players of the new team: Keith McLeod and Jamine Peterson. On October 25, the new uniforms were released. In the 2011 NBA D-League Draft, the Canton Charge selected Tyrell Biggs in the first round. In their first game as the Canton Charge, they were defeated by the 2010-11 champions Iowa Energy in an 82-100 game at home. Their first win came against the Texas Legends in their third game, which they won by 108-87.
Steve Hetzel was named head coach on September 11, 2013, for 2013–14.
The first logo of the team, when it still was the Huntsville Flight, consisted of a yellow basketball with a red fighter aircraft flying around the ball, and below it was written "Huntsville" in blue and "Flight" in yellow. Their colors were red, yellow, navy and white. The home uniform was white with "Huntsville" and the numbers written in red, near the arm and in the neck there were black and navy little lines. Their away uniform was similar, but it was red instead of white and the numbers in yellow.
Their logo as Albuquerque and New Mexico was the same, with just one difference, the name written below the logo. The logo consisted on a bird black head, with a basketball in its claw. Their colors were dark yellow, black, white and orange. As New Mexico, they removed the orange color and replaced with grey. Their home uniform was white, with "Thunderbirds" and the numbers written in orange, and black details on the side of the jersey. The away uniform was orange, with black details, and letters ("Albuquerque") in white. As New Mexico, it had a little change, the away uniform used "T-Birds" instead of "New Mexico".
Under the Cleveland Cavaliers ownership, the Charge adopted a similar style. The logo consists of a musketeer style soldier, with his sword pointing forward, and below him there is written "Canton Charge" in gold and white. The musketeer hat is wine and his clothes are gold. Their colors are wine, gold and white. They have an alternate logo, similar to the "C Sword Logo" from the Cavaliers, with a sword crossing a "C". Their home uniform is gold with details, "Charge" and the numbers written in wine. The away uniform is the same thing with the colors swapped.Von Braun Center (2001–2005)
Tingley Coliseum (2005–2010)
Santa Ana Star Center (2010–2011)
Canton Memorial Civic Center (2011–present)