Dejan Milojević honored with standing ovation at Chase Middle (0:56)
The Warriors, Hawks and followers within the Chase Middle stand and cheer to honor late assistant coach Dejan Milojević. (0:56)
ESPN Information Providers
Feb 12, 2024, 09:21 AM ET
BELGRADE, Serbia — Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević, a mentor to two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, was buried Monday in his native Serbia after struggling a coronary heart assault final month.
Lots of of mourners attended the funeral on a wet day at a Belgrade cemetery, together with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, common supervisor Mike Dunleavy Jr., assistant coaches Chris DeMarco and Ron Adams, basketball operations advisor Zaza Pachulia and coach Rick Celebrini.
A flower-draped casket was carried by Milojević’s former Serbian teammates.
Milojević died Jan. 17 in Salt Lake Metropolis, the place he was hospitalized after a medical emergency throughout a non-public workforce dinner. Milojević, a part of the employees that helped the Warriors win the 2022 NBA championship, was 46.
Milojević’s demise triggered a large outpouring of sympathy from the basketball group and followers in his homeland, the place he was a star participant with Partizan Belgrade and different golf equipment in Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey and Spain earlier than turning to teaching.
Predrag Danilović, the president of the Serbian Basketball Federation, stated there was no one who didn’t respect and love Milojević.
“An amazing basketball participant, nice coach left us, and above all an incredible man, a person with no single stain. I had that honor and pleasure to be pals with him despite the fact that we didn’t play collectively,” Danilovic stated at a proper commemoration for Milojević on Saturday.
Marko Kešelj, of Serbia’s Ministry of Sports activities and a former basketball participant, stated the game was Milojević’s life.
“Along with his constructive power he introduced out one of the best in us,” Kešelj stated. “He motivated us to be higher in each approach, as individuals and as gamers. Deki was a good friend, mentor, he was a frontrunner.”
Milojević was in his third season with the Warriors. He beforehand coached in Serbia — the place he as soon as labored with a younger Jokic earlier than the present Denver Nuggets star got here to the US — together with Montenegro, and had been an assistant coach for the Serbian nationwide workforce alongside present Hawks assistant Igor Kokoškov.
Milojević gained three consecutive MVP awards within the Adriatic League, which contains groups from former Yugoslavia, taking these trophies in 2004, 2005 and 2006 when the 6-foot-7, 240-pound energy ahead was on the peak of his taking part in profession. Jokic was MVP of that league in 2015.
Earlier than becoming a member of the Warriors, Milojević had NBA expertise via summer season league assistant-coaching stints with Atlanta, San Antonio and Houston.
Kerr and the Warriors’ different representatives didn’t return in time for Monday’s rescheduled recreation towards the Utah Jazz. Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson served as head coach.
“It is not, clearly, the perfect scenario in lots of senses,” Atkinson stated earlier than the Warriors’ 129-107 win. “After which from a private standpoint, including on that we’re right here in Utah, the place Deki had the incident … it is powerful. However that is what we do in our jobs as professionals. We have got to maneuver ahead, but in addition remembering.”
The Warriors have honored Milojević’s reminiscence by placing his initials on their jerseys and on the apron of their residence ground. Atkinson spoke with Kerr on Monday, about each the funeral and the sport.
Milojević is survived by his spouse, Nataša, and their kids, Nikola and Maša.
ESPN’s Kendra Andrews and The Related Press contributed to this report.