Warriors assistant Dejan Milojević, Passes away at 46

Warriors assistant Dejan Milojević, Passes away at 46

Analysis

Basketball

January 18th, 2024

Dejan Milojević, an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors known and beloved for his work with star centers, tragically passed away on Wednesday after suffering a sudden heart attack at a team dinner in Salt Lake City. He was only 46 years old.

"Decky," as he was affectionately known by those within the Warriors organization, collapsed at Valter's Osteria restaurant during a team gathering. Fellow coaches and staff rushed to his aid, and he was quickly transported to a nearby hospital. Despite valiant efforts by medical personnel and the arrival of his family flown in from their home in Serbia, Dejan ultimately succumbed to the medical emergency, leaving behind a heartbroken family, colleagues, and countless players whose lives he had touched and shaped.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, visibly grief-stricken, released a statement on behalf of the entire organization: "This is a shocking and tragic blow for everyone associated with the Warriors. Dejan's energy, passion, and unwavering dedication to the game were an inspiration to us all. He was not only a brilliant coach and mentor, but also a cherished friend and colleague. We are absolutely devastated by his sudden passing, and our hearts go out to his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa, during this incredibly difficult time."

The NBA community rallied together in mourning, with players, coaches, and executives voicing their disbelief and sorrow at the untimely loss. Goga Bitazde, a European center who played under Dejan at Mega Basket and felt his impact deeply, spoke poignantly: "He taught me a lot of things... he raised me, basically. He always checked up on me; even after I got drafted, he always stayed in touch. All around Europe, all over here, everybody who knew him, everybody loved him."

Dejan's legacy extends far beyond the hardwood. He leaves behind a trail of success in nurturing young talent, having played a pivotal role in the development of NBA giants like Boban Marjanović, Ivica Zubac, and, most notably, Nikola Jokić. His work with Kevon Looney, transforming him into a key rebounder and contributor to the Warriors' 2022 championship run, stands as a testament to his coaching prowess and ability to unlock potential.

His booming personality, infectious smile, and genuine interest in people drew everyone in, making him a bridge between continents and cultures. He was a tireless advocate for European basketball talent, and his warmth and positivity shone brightly even in the often-intense world of professional sports.

Dejan Milojević's absence leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of family, friends, colleagues, and the countless players he impacted. Though his life was tragically cut short, his legacy will live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved him. His passion for the game, unwavering belief in others, and dedication to making the world a brighter place will continue to inspire generations to come. Rest in peace, Decky. You will be dearly missed.

tag: Dejan Milojević

Klind Parangoni Author

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