Who Is Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach Dejan Milojević and How Did the Serbian Hero Die?

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević died at the age of 46 on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack on Tuesday night while at a private team dinner ahead of Golden State’s game against the Utah Jazz.

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević, a former coach of  NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, died
Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević, a former coach of NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, died at the age of 46 on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack on Tuesday. (Photo: Getty Images)

“We’re absolutely devastated by Dejan’s sudden passing,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “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.”

Kerr continued, “In addition to being a terrific basketball coach, Dejan was one of the most positive and beautiful human beings I have ever known, someone who brought joy and light to every single day with his passion and energy. We grieve with and for his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa. Their loss is unfathomable.”

Milojević was rushed to an area hospital after he reportedly collapsed at Valter’s Osteria restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City. His family flew to Utah on Wednesday morning, according to multiple team sources.

Milojević had a lengthy pro coaching career as head coach of KK Budućnost in the Adriatic League in Montenegro, and previously served as head coach for KK Mega Basket in Belgrade, Serbia, for eight seasons. 

Coached Joker, Coached Serbian National Team, Coached NBA

Milojević, a former Serbian national team assistant coach, is noted for coaching two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic in his formative years.

Mega Basket (2012–2020)

Three years after retiring from playing professional basketball, Milojević became the head coach of Serbian team Mega Vizura, leading his team to the Basketball League of Serbia playoff semifinals.

Milojević got his first taste of the NBA through a Summer League coaching stint in the 2018 season with the Houston Rockets.

KK Budućnost (2021)

In January of 2021, Montenegrin club Budućnost hired Milojević as their new head coach and in June of 2021, Milojević won the Montenegrin Cup. Later that month, he won the Montenegrin League Championship, making himself a hot commodity throughout the global coaching ranks.

He broke his 2.5-year deal early, exercising the NBA opt-out clause shrewdly written into his contract and left Budućnost in June 2021 to join the Golden State Warriors. 

Golden State Warriors assistant (2021–2024)

On August 13, 2021, the Golden State Warriors hired Milojević as an assistant coach, reportedly signing him to a “multiyear deal.”

He became another sharp basketball mind in Steve Kerr’s diverse staff, alongside two more incoming assistant coaches Jama Mahlalela and Kenny Atkinson.

Milojević was assigned the task of maximizing the talents of the young big men who played closer to the rim, helping them become more of an asset when in stretch four, power forward, forward-center, and center positions.

Milojević was credited for his work with raw-skilled Kevon Looney, whose improved rebounding and basket awareness helped the Warriors defeat the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals.

In addition to his international experience Milojević also sharpened his US hoops acumen on NBA Summer League staffs with the Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.

Career Highlights 

Born in Belgrade, Milojević was raised in the suburb of Padinska Skela.

He began playing organized hoops at the age of 13 and eventually put himself on the map as a rising star by becoming a member of the Yugoslavia junior national team (representing FR Yugoslavia), along with Igor Rakočević and Marko Jarić, that won the gold medal at the 1998 European Championship for Men ’22 and Under’ in Trapani, Italy.

He was a role player, averaging 3.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. From there, Milojević enjoyed a 14-year international pro career in various Euro Leagues and won multiple MVPs before becoming a pro coach. 

Other accolades as a player include: All-Europe Second Team (2004), three-time ABA League MVP (2004–2006), two-time Adriatic League Top Scorer (2005, 2006), three-time YUBA League champion (2001, 2005, 2006) and Yugoslav Cup winner (2001).

Dajen Milojević Won NBA Championship

At least Milojević knew what it was like to taste an NBA Championship before his premature departure from this earth. And in doing so he solidified himself in NBA and Serbian history, becoming the second Serbian assistant coach (after Igor Kokoškov) to win an NBA ring.

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