Photo from Kai Sotto’s Instagram account

Kai Sotto has yet to reach the pinnacle of his career, but at 18 years old the 7-foot-2 basketball prodigy is the closest full-blooded Filipino player in the NBA.

Training in the NBA G League under the helm of coach Brian Shaw, Sotto continues his way to greatness after announcing the launching of his sports academy at the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill Complex, the largest indoor sports complex in North America.

By late 2021, many aspiring athletes may enter the 1.3 million-square-foot sports facility where they can find “Kaiju Academy.” And it is just one of more than 20 basketball courts, alongside other facilities, located in Hamilton, Ohio.

“It is a dream come true to mentor young athletes globally,” said Sotto in a release as reported by Forbes.

While the Japanese term “Kaiju” may sound like a wordplay with his name, Sotto explained the deeper meaning behind the branding. With resilience and youth in mind, Sotto said “Kaiju” was the perfect fit for the vision he had for himself as a basketball player and a young mentor.

“The idea is that the Kaiju Academy teaches these young athletes to play ‘like a beast’ on the court and to be amazing men and women off the court,” said the former Ateneo high school standout.

“I want young men and young women to get the right experience, development, exposure and mentorships to become their best true self, both mentally and physically and create an ecosystem of Kaijus that is healthy for all athletes and their families.”

Former Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes lauded Sotto for the project, adding that Kaiju Academy may serve as a “feeder system” for potential Gilas Pilipinas players who were born in the US.

“Overall, it presents opportunities that used to just be pipe dreams before. It’s a game-changer,” said Reyes. “I’m impressed that someone as young as Kai would have thought to start his own academy.”

Kai, the son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto, took his talent to the US after an impressive showing in the UAAP juniors division and eventually suited up for Team Ignite in the NBA G League.

Joining Sotto in the squad of elite prospects are Filipino-American Jalen Green, Congolese Jonathan Kuminga, and Americans Daishen Nix and Isaiah Todd.

Sotto recently posted five points, five rebounds and two blocks in a 113-107 scrimmage loss against veteran G League members Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).

“It’s what I want my legacy to be and it’s [e]mbedded deep in my soul. I want to give back to both young men and young women around the world who want to better themselves and reach their athletic dreams,” added Sotto.

Source: Manila Bulletin (