Kai Sotto’s talent, commitment play huge roles in joining select program, says NBA G League chief

By Jan Carlo Anolin

No less than G League chief Shareef Abdur-Rahim hopes to see Kai Sotto’s dream come to fruition after taking a giant leap to achieve his goal to play in the NBA.

Kai Sotto announced to commit to Atlanta-based basketball organization The Skill Factory (TSF) on his YouTube channel Saturday morning. (Screengrab from Kai Sotto's YouTube channel) Kai Sotto (Screengrab from Kai Sotto's YouTube channel)

“We want to make sure try to identify players attracted to the NBA have the right attitude and right approach,” Abdur-Rahim told the Philippine media via conference call. “I think Kai fits all those.”

Abdur-Rahim stressed that there are a lot of players around the world who shared the same dream but lacked the commitment to do so, making them unfit for the program.

But it’s a different story for the former Ateneo standout.

At least for the G League chief, the 18-year-old Sotto possesses NBA-caliber potential combined with “work ethic, high character and the desire to be pushed and challenged.”

The former NBA All-Star had nothing but praises for Sotto, who became the first international player to join a select team not affiliated with current NBA teams.

Sotto will mix it up with other top recruits in Fil-American Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix in Southern California.

“I think he’s gonna inspire young Filipino players who want to play in the NBA or want to play in the G League,” Abdur-Rahim said.

Since 2019, Sotto had been living in the US and has joined the Atlanta-based organization The Skills Factory to hone his game. As a result, he has made quite an impression to basketball fans, having been featured in different sports websites such as ballislife and Bleacher Report.

And as far as Abdur-Rahim is concerned, the training program in the developmental league serves as another hurdle for Kai to overcome.

“This may be the first time Kai is participating in this level of training,” he said. “I just think it’s gonna be tremendous for him. I think once he has this level of coaching and training everyday, his prospect will just take off.”