Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević died suddenly on January 17th, 2023 at the age of 46 after suffering a heart attack during a team dinner in Salt Lake City. The Warriors were scheduled to play the Utah Jazz later that evening, but the game was postponed by the NBA following the tragic news.
Assistant Coach Suffers Heart Attack During Team Dinner
According to reports, Milojević suffered the heart attack while eating dinner with the Warriors coaching staff and employees at Valter’s Osteria restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City. He was immediately transported to a local hospital but tragically passed away soon after.
Witnesses say that Milojević suddenly collapsed during the meal as his colleagues rushed to assist him. The restaurant staff helped perform CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr accompanied Milojević to the hospital along with other members of the organization.
“We are devastated for Dejan and his family. He was a brilliant coach who we loved having on our staff,” said an emotional Steve Kerr. “He had an incredible basketball mind and touched so many people in the NBA world. This is a terrible loss for all of us.”
The NBA made the decision to postpone the Warriors-Jazz game scheduled later that night shortly after the news broke. Warriors players and staff were said to be distraught and in no condition to play.
“When something like this happens involving someone like Dejan, who was so beloved and respected around the league, the most important thing is to be there for his family,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We felt postponing the game was the right thing to do.”
Background on Dejan Milojević’s Basketball Career
Milojević had been an assistant coach for the Warriors for two seasons after previously serving in coaching roles with the Denver Nuggets and Serbian national team.
A native Serbian, he played professionally in Europe for over a decade, winning two EuroLeague championships. He was considered a legendary figure in European basketball and helped mentor numerous players who went on to NBA careers, including All-Star Nikola Jokić.
Dejan Milojević Basketball Career Timeline:
|Team / Role
|Player with Partizan Belgrade (Serbia)
|Player with Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
|Player with CSKA Moscow (Russia)
|Assistant Coach with Serbian National Team
|Assistant Coach with Denver Nuggets
|Assistant Coach with Golden State Warriors
Warriors star Draymond Green reacted to the tragic news on Twitter, calling Dejan “one of the kindest people” he knew:
One of the Kindest people!
Rest Easy Dejan Milojevic!!
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) January 18, 2023
Many other figures around the NBA expressed their condolences and remembered Milojević as an incredible coach and mentor who selflessly helped players improve their games.
Next Steps for Warriors After Tragedy
The Warriors will now grapple with the devastating loss of their assistant coach in the middle of a promising season where they have the best record in the Western Conference.
The team is not expected to immediately name a new assistant coach, instead relying on remaining staff members in the interim. The front office says their focus is solely on supporting Dejan’s grieving family right now.
A ceremony to honor Milojević will likely be held when the team returns to their home court at Chase Center in San Francisco. The NBA also plans to recognize Dejan with a moment of silence at upcoming games across the league.
The Warriors’ game against the Jazz has been rescheduled for January 30th, though the team may need more time to grieve their loss before returning to action. Their heavy hearts will make focusing on basketball difficult during this tragic time.
Dejan Milojević made a profound impact during his short two seasons on the Warriors staff. His basketball genius and caring nature will be greatly missed in their locker room and throughout the NBA. This sudden loss is undoubtedly devastating for his family, friends, players and colleagues alike.
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