LAS VEGAS — San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama said Thursday he believes Britney Spears grabbed him from behind as he was walking into a restaurant at a Las Vegas casino, and that the security detail he was with pushed the pop star away.
Wembanyama said he wasn’t told that Spears was the person who grabbed him until hours later.
Spears filed a police report claiming she was struck by a security guard while trying to get the attention of Wembanyama, according to TMZ, which first reported alleged details of the incident that took place Wednesday night near a restaurant at the ARIA hotel and casino.
TMZ said Spears was in a group of four trying to enter a restaurant for dinner and that she “was swarmed by fans as she entered the casino.”
TMZ said Spears noticed Wembanyama and tapped him on the shoulder in an effort to get his attention; Spears, the site said, wound up being struck in the face and having her glasses knocked off.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department issued a statement to the Los Angeles Times saying officers responded to a “battery investigation” at that address without specifying any individual names. The statement went on to say that “no arrest or citations have been issued” and that “no further details will be provided at this time.”
Spears’ representatives did not respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment.
Wembanyama said security advised him to not stop for anyone as he walked into the restaurant, mindful that pausing could cause a stir and allow a crowd to build.
“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,” 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 a nice dinner.”
Wembanyama said he was unaware the situation had made headlines until Thursday.
“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 said. “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 will make his NBA Summer League debut with the Spurs on Friday night in Las Vegas against the Charlotte Hornets. He signed some autographs for fans at the ARIA on Wednesday night and did the same for a small number of onlookers as he entered a local high school for practice with the Spurs on Thursday morning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.