Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević dies at 46 after heart attack

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic looks on before the game against the Houston Rockets on February 24, 2023 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California.

Noah Graham | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević died on Wednesday, officials said, after suffering a heart attack at dinner the night before in Salt Lake City.

The Warriors–Utah Jazz game, set for 7 p.m. MST Wednesday at the Delta Center, had been postponed shortly after the team announced that Milojević, 46, was hospitalized Tuesday night, having suffered “a medical emergency at a private team dinner.”

He had a heart attack and died late Wednesday morning, the team said.

“We are absolutely devastated by Dejan Milojević’s sudden passing,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in statement issued by the team. “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 said Milojević was a relentlessly upbeat person “who brought joy” to others every day.

“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,” Kerr said. “We grieve with and for his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa. Their loss is unfathomable.” 

Milojević was hired in 2021 after a coaching and decorated playing career in Europe.

The 6-foot-7 Belgrade native, known as “Coach Decky” to the Warriors, was tasked with working with Golden State’s centers and power forwards.

“He’s been so valuable for me,” Kerr said of Milojević last year. “It’s been great to watch Decky develop as a coach as he’s gotten more comfortable with the language, with the culture, with our group. The guys love him. The players love him.”

Milojević had been credited with the development of Warriors center Kevon Looney.

Looney said Milojević was particularly acute at identifying small elements for Looney to up his game, especially in offensive rebounding and scoring close to the rim.

“I think those details really did take me to the next level,” he said.

The team prides itself on open communication and making the workplace enjoyable, according to Kerr.

“Decky embodies all of that,” he said. “He loves the game. He loves people. He loves to laugh and everyday at our meetings, he brings his joy and positivity that is infections.”

The Warriors next scheduled game is Friday in San Francisco against the Dallas Mavericks.

Wednesday’s night postponed game against the Jazz will be rescheduled, the league said.

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