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Feb 16, 2023

President of Belize Basketball Federation Breaks Silence Kirk “Shabba” Smith Jr. Controversy

Jacob Leslie, the President of the Belize Basketball Federation and Co-Owner of the Belize City Defenders, has been in the middle of the controversy in the Belize Elite Basketball League (B.E.B.L.). Leslie’s team, the Belize City Defenders, and the Benny’s Belize Hurricanes have been clashing off the court over the signing of one player on both teams for this season of B.E.B.L. Viewers may recall that the player Kirk ‘Shabba’ Smith Junior is accused of signing contracts with two teams for the 2023 season. The accusation against him is that he first signed with the Defenders, then signed with the Hurricanes. As a result of the allegation, Smith has faced consequences, which have resulted in his inability to play. Well, on Friday last week, things came to a head when Smith took to social media to accuse Leslie of lying to the B.E.B.L. owners and the public. Smith published a voice note in which Leslie is heard instructing Smith to pretend that he is signing a contract. Today we got to hear from Leslie, who argued that Smith took the voice note out of context.


Jacob Leslie, Part Owner of Defenders and President of BBF

Jacob Leslie

“I would speak specifically to that particular audio that he chose to play. Every team owner in this league understands that audio when they hear it. You send a contract proposal to a player. He signs it and returns it to you. When he returns it to you is when you have a contractual obligation. What you want now is, normally I ask for action photos that I can use and I would ask you to go and pretend that you are signing a picture of it so that I can post and announce the signing. I asked him to pretend because I already had the signed contract. There was no other reason for me to tell him to go and sign the contract. I said pretend like you are signing it because I already had the signed one.”


Paul Lopez

“How was this contract signed, by what means? “


Jacob Leslie

“I emailed it to him and he put his digital signature on it. Not only the digital signature at the end of the contract but also in all the pages you have to initial. This was sent to me via his email. I forwarded that email thread to the commissioner.”


Paul Lopez

“The accusation is that the signature was copied on to the contract.”


Jacob Leslie

“Again, we have the email thread where it was sent from the person’s personal email address. I cannot copy a signature I don’t have. So, how can I copy your signature and I never had a receipt for you. I don’t have your signature. So, I can’t copy it. What was shown in his post was a scanned copy of the document.

All my conversation with Kirk Shabba Smith Jr. has always been positive, up until he discontinued conversation, and I believe, because I don’t know, he had gotten a better offer from an organization. In my opinion there is a way we can address those things.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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