The franchise held a name-the-team contest on their website where fans could vote on one of the four finalists: Lightning, Fire, Coyotes, and Mad Ants. The winning name of Mad Ants was chosen as a salute to the city's and fort's namesake, General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.
In 2012–13, the Mad Ants, in addition to their affiliations with the Pistons, Pacers, and Bucks, were also affiliated with the Charlotte Bobcats.
In 2013–14, the Mad Ants made it through to the D-League Finals for the first time with a 126–118 victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce, winning the second round series 2–0. The Mad Ants defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors 2–0 in the Finals series to claim the franchise's first D-League title in their history. Following that season, the Mad Ants were affiliated with the remaining NBA teams that did not have exclusive affiliates, after the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic associated with the Bakersfield Jam and the Erie BayHawks respectively, and D-League teams were created for both the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks.
In September 2015, the Indiana Pacers purchased the Mad Ants, thus becoming the Pacers' one-to-one D-League affiliate, and Brian Levy was named General Manager.