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Britney Spears knows what it’s like to be the subject of fans’ affection. And when she turned the tables on Wednesday night and approached NBA No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs, she claims she was slapped by a team security official.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Thursday that Las Vegas police responded to an altercation at the Aria, a resort on the Las Vegas Strip, to investigate a potential assault. The newspaper said police took a report but didn’t write any citations or make any arrests, and they are not treating the case as a criminal matter.
In a statement, the 41-year-old pop star said a Spurs’ security person backhanded her in the face.
It was not clear Thursday if Spears and her team will pursue the issue with civil action. Spurs security apologizsed to Spears, and the security teams from each side huddled, US Weekly reported.
Earlier Thursday, TMZ reported that when Spears recognised the 19-year-old Wembanyama in the crowd, she walked toward him and tapped his shoulder, apparently hoping to take a photo with him. At that point, a Spurs security team member backhanded the pop star, knocking her to the ground and sending her glasses flying.
“Physical violence is happening too much in this world,” Spears said in a statement she released on social media. “Often behind closed doors. I stand with all the victims and my heart goes out to all of you!!!
Britney Spears and Victor Wembanyama.Credit: AP
“I have yet to get a public apology from the player, his security or their organization. I hope they will. …”
Wembanyama said Thursday that he had no idea it was Spears who grabbed him until later Wednesday night.
“I didn’t know for a couple hours, but when I came back to the hotel … I thought it was no big deal, and then security of the Spurs told me it was Britney Spears,” Wembanyama told reporters as the team trained at a Las Vegas high school. “At first, I was like, ‘You’re joking,’ but yeah, it turns out it was Britney Spears. I never saw her face. I just kept walking straight.”
Wembanyama acknowledged there was an incident but he said he didn’t see what occurred.
Screenshot of Britney Spears’ Instagram statement.Credit: Instagram
“Something did happen, a little bit, when I was walking with some security from the team to some restaurant,” Wembanyama said. “We were in the hall. There was a lot of people, so people were calling (at) me, obviously. There was one person who was calling me but we talked before with security.
“I couldn’t stop. That person was calling me, ‘Sir, sir,’ and that person grabbed me from behind. 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 a nice dinner.”
Spears said she simply recognised an athlete in the hotel lobby and wanted to congratulate him on his success.
“It was really loud, so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention,” Spears wrote online. “I am aware of the player’s statement where he mentions ‘I grabbed him from behind’ but I simply tapped him on their shoulder.
“His security then backhanded me in the face without looking back, in front of a crowd. Nearly knocking me down and causing my glasses (to fall) off my face.”
Spears pointed out she is used to being tracked by fans and admirers in busy corridors.
“I get swarmed by people all the time,” Spears said. “In fact, that night, I was swarmed by a group of at least 20 fans. My security didn’t hit any of them.”
Wembanyama and the Spurs are in the city for the NBA Summer League and he is expected to make his debut on Friday night when the Spurs play the Charlotte Hornets.
Spears and her husband, Sam Asghari, were with others on their way to dinner when the alleged incident occurred.
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