SPRINGFIELD – Under the guidance of the team’s local ownership, 413 Elite continues to score positive results on and off the court as Springfield’s new American Basketball Association (ABA) franchise.
Many may remember the ABA for its heyday in the 1970s, which popularized innovations like the 3-point shot for basketball. However, the league ceased operations in 1976 when four teams merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA).
In 1999, Joe Newman and Richard Tinkham revitalized the ABA as a new source to represent local basketball talent across the country. The league continues expanding since its inception, including international ABA brands in Australia, Canada and Mexico. 413 Elite represents another recent attempt at incorporating the ABA in Springfield, with the Springfield Sting forming in 2016 before being sold in 2018.
Owner and Chief Executive Officer of 413 Elite Charles Evans experienced the modern ABA as a former player and assistant coach before working at Fortune 500 companies. Now in an ownership role, Evans applauds the opportunities the league provides for a multitude of athletes.
“I see the different diversity that it has and what it’s trying to accomplish. It’s providing a lot of opportunities for kids to get better contracts…but also provide a platform for talent to showcase their skills,” said Evans in an interview with Reminder Publishing.
For Evans, the development of 413 Elite represents a homecoming affair. The athlete-turned-owner shared his experiences growing up in the Springfield area, including playing in local basketball leagues and basking in the glow of the sport’s staples at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
“It means a lot to me growing up in the inner-city. Growing up there with the Basketball Hall of Fame down the street, it was a big thing…we could go there and experience some level of dreaming,” said Evans.
The team owner shared that the name stands as an acronym for “elevating life in the east.” He aspires for the team to infuse support in other local entities, such as businesses and media outlets.
“Springfield really is a special place…We want to help the locals and put them on a grander scale…We represent 413 in everything we do. Our goal is to bring money into Springfield and help our economy thrive,” said Evans.
413 Elite has found early success in its pursuits. The team now boasts a 4-1 record, including a high-scoring 114-94 victory over the Central Jersey Sharks for their Oct. 28 debut at the Basketball Hall of Fame. 413 Elite has also played home games at the Springfield Boys and Girls Club on Carew Street.
Evans expressed pride in his team’s play so far this season.
“With a lot of the guys being first year players in the ABA, they are handling it really well … they showed poise, they showed class,” said Evans.
Off the court, Evans continues to see equal dedication from his players. He applauded the roster for embracing their role as community role models, with many staying after the game to sign autographs and connect with the public. Evans also planned several events that tie in with local Boys and Girl Club organizations, such as a basketball camp for youths.
From a business perspective, Evans noted continual growth for 413 Elite. The team enjoyed healthy crowds during their home games, and the early results have gained attention for local sponsors, including Marriott Springfield, City Enterprise Inc, the YMCA of Greater Springfield and several other organization.
“We’re getting more sponsors because they are seeing the product and seeing they are holding us to professional, elite status … we’re making sure we keep that standard of elevating life in the east and holding our end in the bargain,” said Evans.
Evans noted that 413 Elite’s strong start has also garnered the attention from other ABA franchises.
“People are taking notice outside of Springfield in the ABA,” said Evans.
Looking forward, Evans aspires for continual growth as 413 Elite grows into its role as a local community staple.
“The sky is the limit with these guys,” said Evans.
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