“I recognize an athlete [Wembanyama] In my hotel lobby when I go to dinner,” Spears wrote in a lengthy statement on Instagram. “I later went to a restaurant in another hotel and saw him again. I decided to approach him and congratulate him on his success. It was very loud, so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.
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The 19-year-old Wembaniyama told reporters Thursday that he was walking down a busy hall and was instructed by his security team not to stop to talk to any fans because it was “creating a crowd” outside the Catch, a seafood restaurant at the Las Vegas-area resort.
“one person [Spears] called me” Vembaniyama told reporters at a team training session on Thursday. “I couldn’t stop. The person grabbed me from behind. I didn’t stop and walked straight so I didn’t see what happened. The person grabbed me from behind, not my shoulder. I know security pushed her away. I don’t know with how much force.
Vembanyama, who didn’t realize Spears had approached him until hours later, said, “I had a nice dinner. [and had] A fun night with the guys,” and he thought the incident was “no big deal.”
Spears denied Vembayama’s claim that he tried to “grab him from behind” and said the security team member “backed into my face without looking back in front of the crowd”. The Grammy-winning singer said the force of the blow initially knocked her off balance and caused her to lose her glasses.
“It’s important to share this story and encourage people in the public eye to make an example and treat everyone with respect,” Spears said, noting that he did not seek an apology from Wembaniama, his security team or the Spurs. .
The 7-foot-4 Vembaniyama became the first Frenchman to be selected No. 1 overall in the draft last month, drawing comparisons to past teenage basketball greats like LeBron James and Lou Alcindor. Excitement over his NBA arrival — dubbed “Wombimania” — drove television viewership for the draft to 6 million viewers, and tickets to his Summer League debut sold out days in advance. Prices for general admission tickets have risen to more than $200 each at secondary sites.
Spears, 41, was once a teenage sensation as her 1999 debut album “… Baby One More Time” sold more than 25 million copies.