The French 19-year-old basketball player was in Las Vegas this week ahead of his first NBA pre-season Summer League game and was heading to a restaurant Wednesday night when fans and pop star Spears spotted him.
Spears was pushed away by Wembanyama’s entourage, and the singer took to Instragram to say a security guard “backhanded me in the face… Almost knocked me over and caused my glasses (to fall) off my face.”
Police say the security detail acted appropriately
After Spears filed charges, a Las Vegas police investigation determined that the security guard had not knowingly or unlawfully used force or violence.
Police said surveillance footage of the event “showed Britney going to tap the Spurs player on the shoulder. When she touched the player (redacted) she pushes her hand off the player without seeing, causing Britney’s hand to hit herself in the face. ”
Police interviewed security guards for both the Spurs and Spears herself, who both said the hand-removal response would be a standard first intervention if someone in a crowd tried to touch the person they were protecting.
The Spurs security guard said he spoke to Spears afterward, identified himself and apologized. Spears’ security team said she also apologized, the police report said.
Who are the two stars involved in the incident?
Wembanyama is a 19-year-old teenager from France who stands 2.26 meters tall (just over 7 feet, 4 inches), and is probably one of the most popular rookies to enter the league in years. Despite his gigantic frame, he appears to have many of the skills more typically associated with smaller players, like ball handling and a long shot, which makes him even more dangerous.
The San Antonio Spurs, as expected, selected him first in this year’s rookie draft and hope he can have a similar impact to the last big man they took first in an NBA draft, five-time champion Tim Duncan.
He said of the incident that his security detail had told him not to pause to speak to anyone for fear of attracting a large crowd.
He said he heard Spears talking to him, but he hadn’t looked around and just walked on, so he never knew who it was.
Spears’ fame probably peaked in the 1990s and 2000s. The “Princess of Pop” has struggled with drug addiction and other issues in recent years and has battled a protracted legal battle with her father over his expanded conservatorship over her assets, winning back control in late 2021.
msh/wd (AFP, AP, Reuters)