Britney Spears, Victor Wembanyama tell their sides after Spurs rookie's security allegedly slaps pop star in Vegas
Recent No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama has already reached his first NBA drama, and it involves Britney Spears.
The San Antonio Spurs phenom was involved in an incident Wednesday where a member of his security team confronted the pop icon at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, according to the Associated Press.
Per TMZ, Spears filed a police report that identified Spurs director of team security Damian Smith as the person who backhanded her. No charges were filed by the Las Vegas Police Department after an investigation into the incident on Friday, according to the AP, as police said surveillance video showed Spears inadvertently hit herself in the face after her hand was pushed off Wembanyama.
A video released by TMZ on Friday, likely different than the surveillance footage, shows Spears tapped Wembanyama on the back before being struck.
Spears reportedly wanted to ask Wembanyama for a photo as they were walking into a restaurant and tapped him on the shoulder, which allegedly resulted in the incident. Spears then went to her table, where Smith approached her to apologize, which she accepted.
Wembanyama gave his account of the incident while speaking with reporters Thursday before the video was released, claiming that Spears grabbed him instead of tapping him on the shoulder and said his security "pushed her away" instead of slapping her:
“Something did happen, a little bit, when I was walking with some security from the team to some restaurant. We were in the hall. There was a lot of people, so people calling me, obviously. There was one person who was calling me, but we talked before with the security.
“I couldn’t stop. That person was calling me, ‘sir, sir,’ and that person grabbed me from behind,” Wembanyama said. “I didn’t see what happened because I was walking straight and didn’t stop. That person grabbed me from behind, not on my shoulder, she grabbed me from behind. I just know the security pushed her away. I don’t know with how much force, but security pushed her away. I didn’t stop to look so I could walk in and enjoy the nice dinner.”
He added that he didn't know the other person was Spears until hours after the incident:
“I didn’t know for a couple hours, but when I came back to the hotel ... I didn't forget about it, but I thought it was no big deal, and then the security of the Spurs told me it was Britney Spears. At first, I was like, ‘You’re joking.’ But yeah, turns out it was Britney Spears. I never saw her face. I just kept walking straight.”
He apparently didn't know the issue made headlines until the next morning.
Spears released a statement via Twitter later that day in which she pushed back on Wembanyama's claim that she grabbed him and emphasized the force with which she was hit.
Traumatic experiences are not new to me and I have had my fair share of them. I was not prepared for what happened to me last night. 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. It was really loud, so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. I am aware of the players statement where he mentions "I grabbed him from behind" but I simply tapped him on the shoulder. His security then back handed me in the face without looking back, in front of a crowd. Nearly knocking me down and causing my glasses off my face.
While Spears claimed she was "back handed," the surveillance video obtained by police apparently conflicted with that account.
She requested a public apology from Wembanyama, the Spurs and their security:
"This story is super embarrassing to share with the world but its out there already. However, I think it's important to share this story and to urge people in the public eye to set an example and treat all people with respect.
"Physical violence is happening too much in this world. Often behind closed doors. I stand with all the victims and my heart goes out to all of you!!! have yet to get a public apology from the player, his security or their organization. I hope they will..."
The Spurs have not yet publicly commented on the situation.
Wembanyama is in Las Vegas to take part in NBA Summer League after being selected by the Spurs in the 2023 NBA Draft last month. He has been hyped for months, if not years, as the best prospect the league has seen for quite some time, thanks to his enormous 7-foot-4 frame, defensive prowess and guard-like skills on offense.
He is expected to make his Summer League debut Friday against the Charlotte Hornets, who will be featuring No. 2 overall draft pick Brandon Miller.