‣ Dejan Milojevic, an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors and mentor to NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, died at the age of 46 due to a heart attack.
‣ Milojevic had a significant impact on the Warriors, helping them win the 2022 NBA Finals, and was also a distinguished head coach in Serbia.
‣ His sudden passing has led to the postponement of the Warriors’ scheduled game against the Utah Jazz, with the rescheduled date to be announced later.
Tragic news hit the basketball world on Wednesday. Dejan Milojevic, assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors and mentor to NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, passed away. He was only 46. The cause? A heart attack.
The incident happened in Utah. Milojevic had been hospitalized in Salt Lake City after the medical emergency struck during a private team dinner. He was more than just an assistant coach. He played a key role in the Warriors’ 2022 NBA Finals victory against the Boston Celtics.
The Warriors were set to play against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. That game, however, was postponed by the NBA. The rescheduled date will be announced later.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr expressed his devastation over Milojevic’s sudden passing. “This is a shocking and tragic blow for everyone associated with the Warriors,” he said. It’s a tough time for his family, friends, and all those who had the pleasure of working with him.
Milojevic was in his third season with the Warriors. His own playing career wrapped up in 2009. Before joining the Warriors, he coached for Mega Basket in Serbia (2012-20) and Buducnost in Montenegro (2021).
In 2012, Milojevic took the helm as head coach for Mega Basket of the Adriatic Basketball Association (ABA). It was there that he coached Jokic before the now-Denver Nuggets star was drafted into the NBA in 2014.
Milojevic’s coaching career was diverse. He served as an assistant coach for the Serbian national team alongside current Atlanta Hawks assistant Igor Koskoskov. His passing is mourned by the entire NBA community.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver paid tribute to Milojevic. “Dejan had a decorated international playing career and was a distinguished head coach in his native Serbia,” he said. He extended heartfelt condolences to Milojevic’s wife, Natasa, their children, Nikola and Masa, and the Warriors organization.
Kent Lacob, son of Warriors owner Joe Lacob, was instrumental in bringing Milojevic to Kerr’s coaching staff. Kerr pursued Milojevic in 2021 and quickly understood his qualifications. “He was so great to be around,” Kerr said. “It made so much sense for us to bring Deki in.”
Milojevic had an impressive playing career, winning three straight MVP awards (2004-06) in the ABA League. His mentee, Jokic, was MVP of that league in 2015, a year after current Warriors forward Dario Saric was MVP. Milojevic holds the record for the most ABA MVPs. One of his most remarkable feats was scoring 141 points in a single game as a 14-year-old in 1991.