DA MAN Hot List 2012: Erick Thohir

Even if the 2011-12 NBA season never gets off the ground, Erick Thohir of Indonesia (along with Handy Soetedjo) has made history.

Thohir, a media magnate and owner of Indonesian powerhouse team Satria Muda BritAma, is now the proud owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the first Asian to ever own an NBA team. The ownership team consists of several investors, including celebrity Will Smith. After he was first offered to join the consortium, he recalls “I never imagined owning an NBA team, it was just too big to think about. Then the opportunity actually was offered … and my first question was ‘why me?’”

Turns out that the investment agent pulling the consortium together had scouted out Asian partners and found Erick due to his “love of basketball and excellent track record.” At age 13, Erick saw his first NBA game and it was between the Lakers and the 76ers. “So I like both of those teams, but I became a big Lakers fans … until two months ago,” he tells DA MAN with a chuckle.

Photograph by Firman Maksum