• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

It’s not too late but time is ticking for Kai and the G-League waits for no one

Feb 22, 2021

CHICAGO – Declared dead by nasty, persistent rumors, the G-League Ignite career of Kai Sotto is still alive.
But it’s in critical condition.
And with life being full of ironies, it may not be a bad idea to summon the team chaplain on this – of all days – blessed Sunday.
A league source familiar with the situation but is not authorized to make an official statement on behalf of the NBA, sent me an email to clarify that Kai’s status with the pathway program has not changed.
There is, however, a puzzling, unsettling disconnect. And this is where the oxygen is beginning to trickle slowly on what now appears to be a fractured union.
Since returning to the U.S. after a short trip to the Philippines, where he had hoped to play for Gilas in a postponed FIBA qualifying window, Kai has yet to make his way to the Orlando campus of the G-League bubble.
[Read Kai Sotto yet to reconnect with Ignite, G League since arriving in US: source]
Multiple attempts to reach him via different channels have failed, leaving the Ignite team to wonder when and if Kai is still interested in rejoining the team.
Even in the age of Instagram, Twitter, Twitch and TikTok, the only things heard from Kai’s camp are the deafening, mystifying sounds of crickets.
This just goes to prove that super modern technology cannot find someone who doesn’t want to be found.
“It’s a sad situation if it ends abruptly like this,” said another source who is familiar with Kai’s NBA aspirations.
“It didn’t make sense for him to leave Team Ignite to go play with Gilas if the goal was to make the NBA. He had his foot on the door, When I heard that, red flags went up immediately.”
Has he been broken by the relentless pressure and the unimaginable expectations that we laid on his slender shoulders?
I pray not.
Kai is a full-blooded Filipino. Brown as you and me and resilient as can be. Across generations and against invaders near and far, we have always laced up those sneakers when it’s game time.
Kai can’t quit now. Not after all the time he has put in, the work he has done, and the distance he traveled to come this far.
He needs to snap out of whatever fog is swallowing him. It’s not too late but time is ticking and the G-League, just like the NBA, waits for no one.
Absent the guarantee of meaningful minutes and touches and facing the prospect of not playing at all, I understand that there is little incentive for him to return with 10 more games left in a season that ends on March 7.
But Kai needs to report to Orlando to honor the contract he signed, even if it means swallowing his pride as he parks his disappointed 7-foot-3 frame on the bench.
Believe me, this is a bridge he cannot afford to burn.
Even as it has mounted a fortress that is impossible to scale for low-level reporters such as myself, I bear no ill will toward Kai’s representation, East West Private, for gleefully ignoring my repeated pleas for clarity.
With utmost respect, I still believe that EWP remains the best vessel armed with the facility and infrastructure to ferry a Filipino’s dream to reach the NBA promise land someday.
I just wish they would lower that veil of secrecy a little bit. This is basketball, not the Vatican.
While silence is golden, it also opens the floodgates for speculation and innuendo. And worse, not revealing the truth can be misconstrued as lying.
For years, Kai has implored all of us to support him, buy his merchandise, and follow his journey.
Is it too much to ask something in return, something so little such as the simple courtesy of telling us what the heck is going on?