Springfield, Mass. – It’s fitting that the city touted as the birthplace of basketball should once again be home to a professional team. Basketball returned to Springfield in 2022 thanks to 413 Elite’s Team Owner Charles Evans.

The Springfield native said that growing up in the community and visiting the Basketball Hall of Fame was a “monumental” experience as a kid. The desire for other youth to have the same opportunities is a big factor in his drive to make the basketball team a part of Springfield.

“I know what basketball meant to me as a kid,” said Evans. “It’s helping a lot of the kids dream the way the way I did.”

Being from the market and knowing the market, he understands how important the team can be not only as a family experience, but to the entire city. He believes that by having a competitive sports team and showcasing Springfield, it will benefit everyone.

Evans purchased the rights to start an American Basketball Association team last year, but wanted to ensure the team was properly prepared before hitting the court. He’s not satisfied to just own a team, he wants to make it important to the entire area.

Even the name – 413 Elite – is homage to the community. By using the local area code, Evans wants to recognize all fans in the region.

“It’s bigger than just Springfield. It’s Western Mass,” he said. “I want to include any place that’s 413-related. This is their team.”

Through his work in the community, he developed an association with the Black Economic Council of Western Massachusetts and Stand Out Truck®. Now he’s considering ways to combine the truck with other game-day promotions.

“I want to see how it can benefit both of us,” he said. Evans is contemplating a variety of programs that can utilize the truck and hopes to incorporate those ideas into his gameday plans soon.

Steps to the Top

Perhaps surprisingly, it was his time as manager of a Waffle House that best helped prepare Evans to own a professional basketball team.

“Waffle House was the best training when it comes to businesses,” he said. He transitioned that knowledge into tools for being a team leader, from operational experience to the need for structure and discipline.

“They make you learn every position before they give you the keys to the store,” he said. “That taught me I have to learn every position of my organization so I can relay the message to the people I hire and tell them exactly what they need to do.”

Having been both player and a coach, he already understood the team side of being part of a basketball organization. With the addition of a business degree and his Waffle House experience, he feels ready to lead the team from the top.

“I’ve been through all the steps, and I’m prepared for this,” he said. “It’s making the transition of thinking like a player to thinking like an owner.”

On the World Stage

413 Elite is part of the ABA’s Northeast Division and has the opportunity to play with teams internationally, including teams in Mexico, Africa and Australia. The regular season started in October and runs through early March.

While some members of the 15-player team are from all over the world, most are from the 413 area code.

Evans’ own basketball history includes stints playing overseas, then both playing and coaching in the ABA. During that time, owning a team was always in the back of his mind. The transition to front office from the court isn’t a huge leap, and the mission for everyone remains the same: to create a winning community that is “exciting, entertaining and enjoyable.”

Knowing the community like he does, Evens wants to ensure families can attend a fun event. He has one reminder to anyone who is considering coming to a game.

“Support the city’s team,” he said. “This is huge for the city, especially where I’m going to take it… I have a lot of plans.”

Find the team schedule at 413Elite.com. Tickets are available on Eventbrite, at local Boys and Girls Clubs or at the door.

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