The basketball world is in mourning following the sudden and tragic death of Dejan Milojevic, a revered figure in EuroLeague and an esteemed assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. Milojevic, 46, passed away after suffering a heart attack during a private team dinner in Salt Lake City, where the Warriors were set to face the Jazz. The league, in response to this devastating news, decided to postpone the scheduled game.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr expressed profound grief, stating, “We are absolutely devastated by Dejan’s sudden passing. This is a shocking and tragic blow for everyone associated with the Warriors and an incredibly difficult time for his family, friends, and all of us who had the incredible pleasure to work with him.”
A dominant force in EuroLeague, Milojevic, often likened to Charles Barkley for his playing style as an undersized power forward, enjoyed a distinguished 16-year playing career. He earned three consecutive Adriatic League MVP awards with Partizan Belgrade, leaving an indelible mark on Serbian basketball.
Hailing from Belgrade, Milojevic transitioned to coaching in 2009, assuming the role of Mega Basket’s head coach in 2012. During his nine-year tenure, 11 of his protégés were drafted into the NBA, including two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. Milojevic’s coaching acumen and ability to nurture talent earned him recognition, making his eventual move to the NBA inevitable.
After a season with Montenegrin side Buducnost, Milojevic joined Steve Kerr’s coaching staff in San Francisco. His impact was felt in the development of Golden State’s big men, particularly contributing to the growth of James Wiseman and the emergence of Kevon Looney as a rebounding standout.
Described as a basketball lifer, Milojevic infused his passion for the game into his coaching philosophy. In a 2018 interview, he emphasized the importance of enjoying the game and having a sincere love for it, instilling this perspective in his players.
Leaving behind a grieving basketball community, Milojevic is survived by his wife, Natasa, and their two children, Nikola and Masa. The loss of this beloved figure has prompted an outpouring of tributes from basketball stars, highlighting the impact Milojevic had on the sport and those he mentored throughout his illustrious career.