Dejan Milojevic’s death is mourned by Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski on social media:


Brandin Podziemski – a rookie guard for the Warriors – has paid tribute to late Golden State assistant coach Dejan Milojevic on social media after news of the 46-year-old Serbian’s death broke out earlier on Wednesday. 

Milojevic died in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was hospitalized, on Tuesday night after suffering what the team described as a medical emergency at private team dinner.

‘You changed my life in such a short time,’ Podziemski wrote on X, formerly Twitter. ‘The most important thing you ever told me was to just smile! Your joy and laughs will forever be missed. Shine down on us from heaven.’ 

Milojevic’s death elicited a massive and immediate outpouring of sympathy from the basketball community, and moments of silence were held Wednesday before NBA games. 

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called the news ‘horrific.’ Atlanta forward Bogdan Bogdanovic – a Serbian, like Milojevic – politely declined to comment on Wednesday before the Hawks’ game, saying ‘I’m sorry. I can’t talk about it right now. I feel so bad,’ while tapping his chest. San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich raved about how good a coach Milojevic was. 

Brandin Podziemski, of the Warriors, penned a heartfelt message for Dejan Milojevic on X after the Golden State assistant died on Tuesday

Brandin Podziemski, of the Warriors, penned a heartfelt message for Dejan Milojevic on X after the Golden State assistant died on Tuesday 

Milojevic died after suffering a medical emergency at a team dinner in Salt Lake City, a day before the Warriors were supposed to play the Jazz

Milojevic died after suffering a medical emergency at a team dinner in Salt Lake City, a day before the Warriors were supposed to play the Jazz

Podziemski said Milojevic 'changed his life in such a short time' and to always just keep smiling

Podziemski said Milojevic ‘changed his life in such a short time’ and to always just keep smiling

Milojevic was in his third season with the Warriors. He previously coached in Serbia -where he once worked with a young Nikola Jokic before the now-Denver Nuggets star came to the United States — along with Montenegro, plus had been an assistant coach for the Serbian national team alongside current Atlanta assistant Igor Koskoskov. 

Milojevic worked closely with Jokic, Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, Orlando center Goga Bitadze and Houston center Boban Marjanovic, among others, during his time as a coach in Europe. With the Warriors, he worked primarily with the big men like Kevon Looney, who raved about Milojevic’s attention to detail. 

‘Rest in peace, Deki,’ Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic wrote on social media. 

Kerr said he originally learned of Milojevic from Kent Lacob, the son of Golden State owner Joe Lacob. And when the Warriors went through some staffing changes in 2021, Kerr decided to pursue Milojevic. It took some convincing, but Milojevic finally agreed to take the offer. Kerr was thrilled.

‘I immediately saw what Kent was talking about,’ Kerr said in a video produced by the Warriors last year. ‘He was so great to be around. At the same time, he had this amazing basketball background both as a player and a coach. It made so much sense for us to bring Deki in.’

Milojevic was honored before the Celtics beat the Spurs at TD Garden on Wednesday night

Milojevic was honored before the Celtics beat the Spurs at TD Garden on Wednesday night

Milojevic worked closely with Nuggets star Nikola Jokic among many other Europeans in the NBA including the Clippers' Ivica Zubac and Houston center Boban Marjanovic

Milojevic worked closely with Nuggets star Nikola Jokic among many other Europeans in the NBA including the Clippers’ Ivica Zubac and Houston center Boban Marjanovic

Milojevic won three consecutive MVP awards in the Adriatic League, taking those trophies in 2004, 2005 and 2006 when the 6-foot-7, 240-pound power forward was at the peak of his playing career. Jokic was MVP of that league in 2015, a year after current Golden State forward Dario Saric was MVP.

His potential in the game came early: Shortly after he began playing, Milojevic scored 141 points in a game as a 14-year-old in 1991.

‘I teach all my players that basketball is not a job, but that they should enjoy the game,’ Milojevic told Bosnian radio-television outlet RTV in a 2018 interview. ‘Because if you want to do something for the next 20 years, then you have to love it a lot. It’s not easy to endure all these efforts if you don’t like something. Only those who have a sincere love for the game can handle everything with great success.’

Before joining the Warriors, Milojevic had NBA experience through Summer League assistant coach stints with Atlanta, San Antonio and Houston. He is survived by his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa.



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