More than basketball, Kai Sotto hopes to inspire Filipinos in NBA goal

Kai Sotto during his time with Gilas Pilipinas.

FILE – Kai Sotto during his time with Gilas Pilipinas. –AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Becoming an NBA isn’t just a dream for Kai Sotto.

Sotto also knows how to become the first Filipino-born player to reach the highest level of basketball that is bigger than the sport.

“It means a lot to me and to my fellow Filipinos,” Sotto said in a report on the NBA website. “The biggest goal for me is to get into the NBA.”

“But when I look at the bigger picture, I want to go to the NBA to be an example and inspiration to young players and young athletes back home in the Philippines. If they can say that if Kai can do it, so can I, it’s a dream come true. ”

The 20-year-old Sotto has had pre-workout sessions with several NBA teams. His latest exercise is with Indiana Pacerswho has three picks in the 2022 NBA Draft on Friday.

Raymond Townsend was the first Filipino-born player to play in the NBA. Currently, Filipino-American bodyguards Jordan Clarkson and Jalen Green, second overall picks in the 2021 draft, are in the league.

Expectations couldn’t have been greater for the 7-foot-2-tall Sotto, but so was the support of the millions of Filipinos gathered behind him.

“I am really grateful for all of their support (the Filipinos) and those I don’t take for granted,” he said.

“And, you know, if I make it into the NBA, I’ll be the first Filipino. And my dream is to help others get here as well,”

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