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Mar 13, 2023

Kirk “Shabba” Smith Jr. Free to Play on Friday Night

Goodnight and welcome to another exciting edition of Sports Monday, I am Paul Lopez. Here hoping you are having a great start to your week. He is arguably one of the most talked about players in the 2023 Belize Elite Basketball League, Kirk Smith Junior. And, this coming Friday fans will finally get to witness his skills on the court. Yes folks, those shackles have fallen off and the doors have been flung wide open. Kirk “Shabba” Smith Junior is now free to play. We have done extensive coverage on the double-signing controversy which led to a seven-game suspension in his first season playing in Belize. Now, what the fans really want to know is whether he will be able to rise above all the drama that has weighed him down to compete at the level he is expected to. We had a conversation with the Benny’s Belize Hurricanes player earlier today.


Kirk “Shabba” Smith Jr

Kirk “Shabba” Smith Jr., Benny’s Belize Hurricanes

“Definitely my dad inspired me to play basketball, from a young kid watching him play, and going in to YouTube to seeing all his highlights and stuff like that, so that definitely inspired me to be the best basketball player I can be and him being a legend here in Belize. I can only hope to follow in his footsteps.”

Paul Lopez

“Let’s talk about your journey throughout this entire process, when this controversy first came to light and what that did to you.”


Kirk “Shabba” Smith Jr.

“It was just more so of a distraction than anything. I came to played basketball and when you can’t really focus on that it becomes frustrating. But, hopefully we are all passing that and I get to play basketball and do what I came here to do. My team has been very supportive, they’ll joke around and try to keep my spirits up, and my management and coaching staff, GM, and everybody talks to me and gets me whatever I need, like mental, emotional, and physical support. Whatever goes on at the house and practice they are always there for me.”

Paul Lopez

“I think one of the pressures on your shoulder is that people are now waiting for you to unveil what all this controversy is about and why over this guy?”

Kirk “Shabba” Smith Jr.

“Honestly, you can just expect somebody really excited to play, someone who give their effort and really just tries on both ends. I am just excited. I know it’s probably a lot of pressure and people expecting me to do amazing things. I am just focused on what I have been doing for the past three months and just play my game.”


The Benny’s Belize Hurricanes will take on the Punta Gorda Panthers inside the Belize Civic Center on Friday night. And, over the weekend, the Hurricanes were able to end a two-game losing streak when they dominated in their match against the Belmopan Taigaz. That game ended at one hundred and five to sixty-four points. But according to the latest stats from the BEBL’s official website, the Dangriga Dream Ballaz is now on top of the 2023 season. They were victorious against the Western Ballaz this weekend with a score of seventy-four to sixty-four. The Belize City Defenders experienced an upset on the road against the San Pedro Tiger Sharks over the weekend. That game ended at eighty-seven to eight-three points, in favor of the Tiger Sharks, while the Orange Walk Running Rebels defeated the Punta Gorda Panthers one hundred and thirty-two to sixty-eight points.


And now for some Volleyball action, the Belize Men’s Under Nineteen National Volleyball Team is currently in Guatemala City to compete in the 2023 Pan American Cup.  Team Belize is in Group A with the U.S.A, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Today, they played their first match against the team U.S.A. We spoke with Belize’s Team Captain earlier in the day, before that match.


Nicanor Requeña

Nicanor Requeña, Captain, Belize Men’s U-19 National Volleyball Team

“Preparations has been rigorous. We trained on the weekends. We have really pushed ourselves mentally to prepare for this tournament. A lot of emphasis has been put on the newer guys who came to the team. Some have actually not played on national teams before. So, guys coming off our games in Honduras had to really push to get everybody up to speed. But, we are all very excited and thrilled to be here representing our country you know.  It is a great honor to be here as athletes, more so as Belizean athletes representing our country. Our game against the United States, it is exciting to be competing at this high level at such a well equipped team. It is going to be a challenge, but we are ready mentally. And, the team will unite to battle, to really fight for it.”

The 2022-2023 National Primary School Track and Field Championships were held inside the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. We have the results from that event, courtesy freelance sportscaster William Ysaguirre. The top primary school teams from across all six districts battled it out, to see which district would claim the most medals across the various disciplines. The Cayo and Belize District schools topped the standings with sixteen medals each at the end of the day. Cayo schools won five gold medals, five silver medals and six bronze medals. Belize schools won four gold medal, seven silver medals and five bronze. And while the Stann Creek District schools walked away with one less victory, at fifteen medals, nine of them were gold. Toledo District schools won eight medals, Orange Walk District schools walked away with three medals and Corozal five. In the highly anticipated four-by-one hundred meter relay races, All Saints Boys from Belize City finished first. The Saint Alphonsus Girls from the Stann Creek District also placed first. Here is a look at both of those finishes.


And finally for tonight, the Forty-Second Westrac Belmopan Cycling Classic was held this past Sunday. The elite riders rode from Belmopan to Belize City and back, while the junior and women riders rode from Belmopan to Rockville and back. Well folks, Byron Pope, rider for Westrac Alliance Cycling Team took home the first place trophy and the thousand dollars prize, as he rode to the finish line alone with hands held high in celebration of the victory. Second place went to Pope’s teammate Eric Trapp. While Giovanni Choto for Team Imani’s took home the third place trophy.


Well folks that is all we have for you in this week’s edition of Sports Monday. Until next time, “Be Mindful that Nature is the Best Playground”

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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