March 4, 2024

Steve Kerr attends funeral of Warriors assistant Dejan Milojević in Serbia

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.

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral on a wet day at a Belgrade cemetery, together with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, basic 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 City, the place he was hospitalized after a medical emergency throughout a non-public crew dinner. Milojević, half of the employees that helped the Warriors win the 2022 NBA championship, was 46.

Milojević’s dying triggered an enormous outpouring of sympathy from the basketball neighborhood 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 that didn’t respect and love Milojević.

“A great basketball player, great coach left us, and above all a great man, a man without a single stain. I had that honor and pleasure to be friends with him even though we did not play together,” Danilovic stated at a proper commemoration for Milojević on Saturday.

Marko Kešelj, of Serbia’s Ministry of Sports and a former basketball participant, stated the game was Milojević’s life.

“With his positive energy. he brought out the best in us,” Kešelj stated. “He motivated us to be better in every way, as people and as players. Deki was a friend, mentor, he was a leader.”

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 United States — together with Montenegro, and had been an assistant coach for the Serbian nationwide crew alongside present Hawks assistant Igor Kokoškov.

Milojević labored intently with Jokic, Clippers middle Ivica Zubac, Magic middle Goga Bitadze and Rockets middle Boban Marjanovic, amongst others, throughout his time as a coach in Europe.

Milojević received three consecutive MVP awards in 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.

Before becoming a member of the Warriors, Milojević had NBA expertise by means of summer season league assistant-coaching stints with Atlanta, San Antonio and Houston.

Kerr and the Warriors’ different consultant is not going to return in time for Monday’s sport in opposition to the Utah Jazz. Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson will act as head coach for Monday’s sport.

Milojević is survived by his spouse, Nataša, and their youngsters, Nikola and Maša.

ESPN’s Kendra Andrews contributed to this report.