Born: June 30, 2004 – The Charleston Lowgators relocate to Fort Myers, FL.
Arena: Germain Arena
NBA Development League Championships: None
The Florida Flame were a short-lived entry in the NBA’s D-League minor league system that lasted for two seasons at Germain Arena in Estero, just outside Fort Myers.
Former Seattle Supersonics and Boston Celtics star Dennis Johnson coached the Flame during their first campaign in 2004-05. The team finished tied for last in the 6-team NBDL with a 17-31 record. Guard Smush Parker was the lone Flame player to earn a call up to the NBA during the season, earning a cup of coffee with the Phoenix Suns.
Former NBA All-Star Jeff Malone replaced Dennis Johnson as Head Coach for the 2005-06 season. The Flame fared much better on the court, finishing third with a 25-23 record. They lost a single-game playoff semi-final to the eventual champion Albuquerque Thunderbirds on April 15, 2006. This proved to be the final game the Flame would play. The club folded following the 2005-06 season.
Head Coach Dennis Johnson (Flame ’04-’05) died of a heart attack suffered while coaching another NBA D-League team, the Austin Toros, on February 22, 2007. He was 52. New York Times obituary.