One of the toughest things about being a Charge fan is loving the players themselves. Just when you get to know some guys, they might get a call-up or possibly be traded. If they’re here a full season playing for the Wine & Gold, a player might move on to another franchise or play internationally somewhere next. It’s even worse when a guy has been here multiple seasons, forming a relationship with Canton and Charge Nation that becomes a little more than just rooting on game nights.
Levi Randolph is a prime, recent example of this. His third season with the Charge finished and you had a feeling you’d never see him in Canton again. That feeling was quickly turned into a reality about a week after the team returned from the bubble in Orlando when Randolph signed with the New Zealand Breakers of the National Basketball League based in Australia.
“Levi has been a great ambassador for our organization both on and off the court. He plays the right way and it was a pleasure having him once again,” said Charge GM Brendon Yu. “We wish him the best of luck in Australia as he finishes out the year there!”
Let’s not forget the whole reason the NBA G League and Charge exist is to foster and develop talent for the future of the Cavaliers and for the future of the players themselves. It’s considered a success when a player gets called up to the NBA or earns a large international contract.
So why doesn’t it feel like a success to the fans?
We get attached to players through their personalities, styles of play, heck sometimes maybe even because of their personal style or they wear a number we like. We love to pick favorites, put all our passion and support behind them, and hope for the absolute best every time those players put on the uniform.
Levi was a lot of people’s favorite player.
He has a friendly, curious personality where he’s never met a stranger before and loves in depth conversations about anything and everything. He’s a person who brings people together… a magnet personality that people enjoy being around and gravitate towards.
Levi is a natural leader because of these qualities and more. In a league where rosters change more often than NEO weather, having a stalwart on your team like him is just as important as a knockdown shooter or defensive stopper. That shining personality is key when bringing 10+ guys together on and off the court for one common goal in a League where individuals come and go.
And he’s more than just a nice guy. Levi can ball, make no mistake about it.
He starred for the Charge in the COVID-shortened season, leading the team in scoring and leading a star-studded team to the best winning percentage in franchise history before play was suspended. He starred for the Charge again in the bubble in Orlando, showing off his ability to do a little bit of everything.
“The great thing about Levi is, you plug him in, and you go worry about something else,” said Scott Zurilla, the Voice of the Charge. “You know what you’re gonna get with Levi: about 12-18 points, 4-6 rebounds, a long-range weapon plus tough defense and leadership.”
And who doesn’t want that on their team? It was lucky that we had Levi for three years at all… but that doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.