SPRINGFIELD – As the newest member of the American Basketball Association (ABA), 413 Elite dribbles in a new source of local basketball to the sport’s long-respected homestead.
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 conception, including international ABA brands in Australia, Canada and Mexico. 413 Elite represents a second 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.
Evans said the development of 413 Elite came from his lingering aspirations to embrace an ownership role. After the Springfield market opened up, Evans contacted Newman and expressed his interest in returning the ABA to basketball’s hometown.
“[Newman] loved it because he knew the market and it was the birthplace of basketball. He was excited,” said Evans. The initial conversations led to Evans acquiring the marketplace for the team in November 2021.
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 is now in the process of developing its core foundation. Evans formed a group of local experts, such as Director of Basketball Operations Robert Andrew Bolden and Director of Business Operations LaMar Cook, to join the organization. Evans stressed the importance of having an organization constructed of local talent who understand the sport and athletes’ experiences joining the ABA.
“I want to put the players through everything I’ve been through as a player. I want to put my coaches through everything as I’ve been through as a coach,” said Evans.
413 Elite is hosting a tryout for prospective players on July 23 and 24 at the Boys and Girls Club on Carew Street. The tryout fee is $100. Selected players from the combine will be invited to sign a professional contract for the upcoming ABA basketball season. Interested athletes can sign up at https://413elite.com/register/ .
Evans shared that 413 Elite will make their debut in the last week of October at the Basketball Hall of Fame. The ABA season will run from then until March, with playoffs starting in April. The team expects to play at several different local arenas during their season, according to Evans.
As he continues to prepare for the team’s debut, Evans expressed excitement for what 413 Elite will bring to Springfield.
“It’s like a dream come true…413 Elite is elevating life in the east. I want the inner-city kids, I want the outer-city kids and I want everyone to know who Springfield is and what we represent,” said Evans.
Readers can find Article at https://www.thereminder.com/localnews/springfield/413-elite-brings-the-aba-back-to-springfield/