NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gave a vote of confidence on Thursday to the leagues No. 1 overall draft pick Victor Wembanyama after a bizarre encounter with pop star Britney Spears.
The towering San Antonio Spurs rookie was thrust into the spotlight last week after the “Toxic” singer alleged that one of Wembanyama’s security guards slapped her in the face as she tried to approach him at a Las Vegas restaurant.
“I think the media has covered him in an intense way, but that’s part of being in the NBA and certainly comes with being the No. 1 pick,” Silver told The Post during an interview at Allen & Co.’s annual conference at the ritzy Sun Valley resort Idaho.
“At 7-foot-4, he’s going to get attention no matter what he does and no matter where he is, and I think he’s handling it incredibly well,” Silver added.
Spears later demanded that Wembanyama issue a public apology.
Las Vegas police cleared the security guard of any wrongdoing and the 19-year-old French-born star has tried to keep out of the spotlight since the incident.
Silver said Wembanyama will learn to take the massive media attention in stride – and stressed that he has a strong supporting cast around him.
“Honestly, the league depends on the media coverage,” Silver said. “He’ll adjust to it as time goes on. Based on the time I’ve spent with him, I think he’s up to it.”
“I have tremendous confidence in the San Antonio Spurs and the Players Association, who also continue to work with him,” Silver added.
Wembanyama will enter his first NBA season as one of the league’s most closely-watched prospects in years and is likely to be a significant TV ratings draw.
He has already faced some criticism over his play in the NBA’s summer league. The center shot just 2-for-13 from the field in his debut, leading some to speculate about his ability to adjust to the league’s physical style of play.
Wembanyama bounced back with a strong 27-point, 12-rebound performance in his second game.
The Spurs are reportedly shutting him down for the rest of the Summer League, with Wembanyama purportedly stating he plans to “disappear from the media” for the rest of the offseason.
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