Indonesian beats MVP to NBA
NHA TRANG—Indonesian tycoon Erick Thohir just beat businessman-sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan to it.
Thohir, who’s also president of the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba), became the first Asian to own an NBA team after joining a big group of investors that bought the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I’m here not because of my ego or about Indonesia, I’m talking about Asia,” Thohir told a group of reporters Wednesday night at the Fiba Asia U16 tournament here.
“As president of Seaba, I also want to create an opportunity for Southeast Asian countries, that we can play and be at par in world basketball.”
The new management—which bought the franchise for a reported $280 million from Comcast-Spectacor—got the nod of the NBA Board of Governors early this week.
“When they made the announcement last night (Tuesday), I almost cried. You never dream this one,” said Thohir.
Pangilinan had a shot at becoming the first Asian to control an NBA franchise after flirting into joining a group of investors that wanted to buy the Sacramento Kings early this year.
But the plan didn’t push though as Pangilinan noted that such a major move needs more study.
“If that happens (Pangilinan’s NBA plans), it’s very good since more Asian people can own something big,” said Thohir. “We need to support each other. The competition is in the games, not in the building of the opportunity.”
Thohir shares ownership of the Sixers with a large group that includes Hollywood’s power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Joshua Harris, David Blitzer and former NBA player agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien.
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