Victor Wembanyama is sure to be one of the most exciting NBA players of the new generation of players. He’s been making headlines as a basketball sensation, especially since he signed on with the San Antonio Spurs at the end of June. The rookie has already garnered much praise as he gears up for his first season with the NBA
Unfortunately, the 19-year-old player had a negative incident with pop icon Britney Spears while out in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 5, 2023. The “Toxic” singer reportedly approached the NBA rookie’s table at the Catch restaurant at the ARIA Hotel, and a member of the Spurs security team allegedly backhanded Britney and knocked her to the ground, according to a report by TMZ. Britney returned to her table, and the security guard later apologized for the mistake. She reportedly has filed a police report.
Britney, her husband Sam Asghari, and Victor have all spoken out about the incident publicly, and Victor seems to have a different recollection of the event than Britney and Sam. “Something did happen, a little bit, when I was walking with some security from the team to some restaurant. 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,” Victor said in a statement, per AP News.
“I couldn’t stop. That person was calling me, ‘Sir, sir,’ and that person grabbed me from behind,” he continued. The rising basketball star stated that his security team told him not to stop for anyone. “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.”
Victor claimed he didn’t know Britney was approaching him until “hours” after his dinner. “At first, I was like, ‘You’re joking,’ but yeah, it turns out it was Britney Spears,” he confirmed. “I never saw her face. I just kept walking straight.”
Meanwhile, Britney called the incident “embarrassing” in two Instagram Story posts she made on Thursday, July 6. “Traumatic experiences are not new to me and I have had my fair share of them,” she wrote in the statement. “I was not prepared for what happened to me last night. I recognized an athlete in my hotel and saw him again. I decided to approach him and congratulate him on his success. It was really loud, so I tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.”
Both Britney and Sam slammed the security guard for the extreme use of physical force and asked for an apology. Sam also said he hopes to see changes in how the sporting and entertainment industries treat females.
Aside from the incident with Britney, find out more about Victor here.
Victor was a first-round draft pick for the Spurs
Victor was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs on June 22, 2023. The center/power forward was the first overall pick in the NBA draft, and it marked a number of accomplishments. Most importantly, Victor was the first ever French player to be the first overall draft pick. He was also the second European player to ever have that happen. He’s also the tallest active NBA player at 7’5″.
As mentioned above, Victor was actually born and raised in France. Originally from Le Chesnay, Victor played a few other sports in his youth, including soccer and practicing the martial arts style judo. While his native language is French, Victor revealed that he learned to speak English for his NBA ambitions in an October 2022 interview with The New York Times. He revealed that in middle school, he would watch videos from American Instagram accounts, as well as American TV shows to brush up on his English.
He’s played pro basketball in France for four years
While fans are eagerly awaiting Victor to make his NBA debut, he already has quite a few years of pro basketball experience under his belt from playing in France. He joined his first pro team, the Nanterre 92 senior team, in 2019, and he also played the Euroleague team ASVEL from 2021 to 2022, and the Metropolitans 92 team from 2022 to 2023. He’s also played for both the junior and senior French national teams.
After his final season with the Metropolitans, he posted an emotional tribute to his team on Instagram. “Best season ever, man. These guys made it special to me and to a whole lotta people. I’ll definitely remember this team all my life,” he wrote in the caption.
He comes from a family of athletes
While Victor is on the road to becoming an international superstar, he’s not the first person in his family to be a professional athlete. His mom Elodie de Fautereau was a basketball player and coach, per The Toronto Star. His dad Felix was a track-and-field, most known for his long-jump abilities. His older sister Eve plays pro basketball in Monaco, and his younger brother Oscar has also competed at the junior level, per Associated Press.
He’s been compared to LeBron James
While Victor has become an exciting player to watch, and he’ll surely make a name for himself in the years to come, he’s already garnered comparisons to one of the greatest players of all time: LeBron James. He’s been called the biggest prospect to join the league since the Lakers player, per The Guardian.
Both players have already shown one another a mutual respect since Victor’s been on the map. LeBron complimented his style and ability in a Sports Illustrated profile in February 2023. “He’s more like an alien—no one has seen anyone as tall as he is but as fluid and as graceful as he is on the floor,” he said.
Victor has said that he appreciates the kind words. “I like it because it’s just something not from this world. I like being called an alien, yeah. It’s really what I’m working to be—something unique and original,” he told S.I.
Even though there’s a lot of respect, Victor has shown that he’s looking forward to playing against the GOAT and hopefully getting to score against him. “It’s gonna feel special to dunk someday, hopefully, on LeBron. Because he’s been like the icon of the league for so long,” he said in an interview after being drafted.