Over the past week or so, Boston Red Sox players have been arriving in town for the start of spring training. For some reason we asked ourselves if any other professional sports franchise has ever called Gateway home.

And believe it or not, one has.

In 2004 an NBA D-League team named the Charleston Lowgators relocated to Fort Myers to become the Florida Flame, and the team set up its head office at 13130 Westlinks Terrace, Suite 7 in Gateway.

They played their home games at Germain Arena.

Serving as an affiliate for the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves, the Flame played in the D-League during the 2004-05 season (17 wins – 31 losses) and the 2005-06 season (25 wins – 23 losses). The team qualified for the playoffs in its second and final season, however they lost in the semi-finals to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds.

Following the 2005-06 season the team was unable to come to terms with Germain Arena for 2006-07. They were subsequently unable to secure a home venue anywhere in the area and went dormant for a season, eventually folding.

Only one former Flame player plays in the NBA today.

Gerald Green was drafted in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics and was briefly assigned to the Flame during the 2005-06 season. Green currently plays for the Miami Heat.

Of all the things we’ve found out about this community, the fact Gateway was the home base and business operations hub for an NBA D-League team has to top the list of of surprises.

So far.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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