Kai Sotto pushes on for NBA dream
MANILA, Philippines—Kai Sotto’s desire to play in the NBA is common knowledge and his journey to the United States has been the stuff of sporting headlines in the Philippines for several months now.
The 7-foot-2 center has been training in The Skill Factory and even played in the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend, both of which have helped him in his road to the NBA.
Yet, Sotto has to go through so much before achieving his dream since he’s not even in college yet.
Nevertheless, there’s a sense of maturity for the 17-year-old who wants to become the first Philippine-born player to get to the NBA.
“My ultimate dream is to make it to the NBA and I also want to represent the Philippines on international tournaments,” said Sotto in an interview with Bleacher Report.
“I just want to show the Philippines is part of the basketball world.”
Rob Johnson, the head coach of The Skill Factory, said he’s aware of Sotto’s aspirations but he’s also impressed with the teenager’s sense of responsibility.
If Sotto does end up in the NBA, he’ll be the third athlete with Filipino blood to play in the league after Raymond Townsend, who played from 1978 to 1982, and Jordan Clarkson.
“It’s just a breath of fresh air to work with somebody whose goals are so enriched but also knows and is willing to put in the work in that it’s going to take there,” said Johnson.
Jeremiah Buswell, a partner in The Skill Factory, added that even though Sotto’s been working hard the goal is still a long reach from where they’re at.
“I think he saw kind of where he was and was able to size himself up a little bit and now he’s able to take a step forward because he’s grounded in reality, he’s not caught kind of in the hype world,” said Buswell. “I think he understands that and so as long as he continues to move forward and progress got every, every opportunity in the world to be a good NBA player.”