LAS VEGAS — San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama on Thursday responded to reports that a security team member slapped pop star Britney Spears at a Las Vegas restaurant.
The Story: TMZ reported that Wembanyama was going to dine at the Catch restaurant in the ARIA Hotel when Spears came up from behind to get the young star’s attention when security got involved.
Going deeper: Spears was with a group of people when she entered the restaurant, becoming swarmed by fans.
- Spears wound up being struck in the face by a member of Wembanyama’s security team and having her glasses knocked off.
- Wembanyama responded to the reports during a San Antonio Spurs practice session in Las Vegas, saying he did not know Spears was the person trying to get his attention.
- “I didn’t see what happened because I was walking straight and didn’t stop,” he said. “That person grabbed me from behind — not on my shoulder, she grabbed me from behind. I just know the security pushed her away.”
- “I didn’t know for a couple of hours. When I came back to the hotel… I thought it was no big deal. The security of the Spurs told me it was Britney Spears,” Wembanyama added. “At first, I was like, ‘No, you’re joking.'”
‘Traumatic experience‘: Spears responded shortly after Wembanyama’s comments, saying she was “not prepared for what happened”, calling it a “traumatic experience.”
- “I recognized an athlete in my hotel lobby as I was heading to dinner. I later went to a restaurant at a different hotel and saw him again. I decided to approach him and congratulate him on his success,” Spears said.
- “I simply tapped him on the shoulder and his security then back-handed me in the face without looking back in front of a crowd.”
Why it matters: With Wembanyama beginning his NBA career and likely becoming the league’s newest star, how his security team responds to incidents like this in the future will be an important look for both Wembanyama and the Spurs.