It's official: Sotto joins NBA G-League

Kai Sotto

KAI SOTTO took baby steps four years ago.

Then 6-foot-9  and only 13 years old, Sotto was the last one to be called among the 10 All-Stars picked at the end of the National Training Camp of the Jr. NBA Philippines in 2016.

And he got it on the third try, easing the pain of two previous failed attempts to make it to the Jr. NBA All-Stars.

"Sobrang saya kasi isa siya sa mga pangarap ko," said Sotto, who was also the camp MVP. "Yung opportunity nandito na kaya ibinigay ko na ang best ko."

Fast forward to 2020.  While a lot of people want to forget this year, Sotto continues to live the dream, making history for Philippine basketball.

The NBA G League, through its president Shareef Abdur-Rahim, formally announced Thursday that Sotto, a top prospect from the Philippines, has signed to play in the NBA G League next season.

Now at 7-foot-2, Sotto will join Fil-Am Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix, all consensus five-star high school recruits in signing to play in the 2020-21 NBA G League season.

Details of the new team that Sotto will play for, which will be unaffiliated with any existing NBA G League franchise or NBA team, will be announced later.

Ranked by ESPN as the No. 4 player in Georgia in the Class of 2020, Sotto spent his time at the Atlanta-based sports development organization The Skill Factory since last yeat.

"The NBA G League gives top young prospects a chance to begin their professional careers while receiving mentorship and life skills training. Sotto will have the opportunity to accelerate his on-court development as he learns NBA-style basketball," said the G League in a statement.

Sotto excelled at Ateneo, winning a Season 80 UAAP high school basketball title to go with a MVP and a Rookie of the Year award before playing at The Skill Factory.

Last February, Sotto took part in the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during the NBA All-Star festivities in Chicago.

He played for the Batang Gilas has in several competitions, including last year's Fiba Under-19 Basketball World Cup.

"Napakahilig ko sa basketball," said Sotto after the Jr. NBA Philippines 2016 ceremony. "Siguro lahat ng nalalaman ng dad ko (former pro Ervin) ina-advise sa akin, yung displina, hardwork and prayers."

A step away from becoming the first pure Filipino talent to make it to the NBA, Sotto will continue just push further to the limits to make it far.