Singer Britney Spears demanded an apology on Thursday after claiming that a member of the security team for NBA star Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs punched her in the face as she greeted the player outside a Las Vegas restaurant.
Spears did not identify Wembanyama by name in her tweet about the incident, but she did make reference to statements he made to the media earlier that day. Spears, now 41 years old, said that she saw “an athlete” at two separate hotels on Wednesday night, and “decided to approach him and congratulate him on his success” at the second hotel, outside the restaurant. When Spears patted him on the shoulder, one of his bodyguards “back handed me in the face,” Spears alleged, breaking her glasses and almost putting her to the ground.
Spears said that the player, his security, and the team have yet to apologise to her. Wembanyama, at 19 years old, was the first overall chosen in this year’s NBA draught. Starting this coming Friday in Las Vegas, he will participate in the NBA’s summer league.
Despite several Thursday attempts for comment, the Spurs remained silent. When reached by email, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department offered no response. The department’s public records office said they couldn’t comment on a particular case and it may take three to five days to process a request for public documents.
Authorities in Las Vegas told many media sources (including Variety and People) that about 11 p.m. on Wednesday, “officers responded to a property in the 3700 block of Las Vegas Boulevard regarding a battery investigation,” but that no one was taken into custody and no tickets were issued. TMZ was the first to report the event on Thursday morning. Spears’ attorney, Mathew S. Rosengart, has refused to go beyond what the singer has already revealed and claimed that the Las Vegas police were investigating.
Wembanyama met with media in Las Vegas earlier on Thursday, before Spears’ tweet, and presented a different account of events. He said that “there was one person calling me,” but that he had been warned by Spurs security not to pull over because doing so may attract a large throng. Next, he claimed that someone had “grabbed me from behind, not on my shoulder.”
Wembanyama stated, “I don’t know with how much force, but security pushed her away,” adding that it wasn’t until hours later that he realised the lady was Spears.
Spears said that she was “not prepared for what happened” and found it “super embarrassing” to share the incident in public.
Wembanyama, who stands at nearly 7 feet tall, is one of the most highly anticipated NBA players in years. Last season, he played for the French professional club Metropolitans 92, where he averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.