Golden State Warriors and NBA mourn loss of Dejan Milojevic

Filip Masiulis (L) of Prokom Trefl Sopot
Filip Masiulis (L) of Prokom Trefl Sopot / KOCA SULEJMANOVIC/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors' on-court struggles have been put into perspective over the last 24 hours with the tragic loss of assistant coach Dejan Milojevic.

The 46-year-old suffered a heart attack at a team dinner in Utah on Tuesday night and was hospitalized before passing away on Wednesday morning. The Warriors' game against the Jazz on Wednesday night was postponed.

The passing of Golden State Warriors' assistant Dejan Milojevic is a tragic reminder that basketball is trivial in the context of life

The Warriors' season has been frenetic, one largely of disappointment and conjecture as the trade deadline approaches. Now, suddenly, it all matters very little. It's a reminder that this is nothing but a game, yet one Milojevic had a profound impact in.

The outpouring of emotion around the league has been an immediate showcase of the influence Milojevic had on so many people, both from a professional and personal perspective. In a team statement on Wednesday, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr paid tribute to his colleague and friend.

"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 bought joy and light to every single day with his passion and energy."

Steve Kerr

From an on-court perspective, Milojevic had an instant impact at the Warriors after joining the franchise ahead of the 2021-22 season. They would win the NBA championship in that first season, with Milojevic in his third year in the Bay holding plenty more NBA and international coaching still ahead of him.

Milojevic would enjoy a prominent 14-year career in Europe before becoming head coach of Serbian team KK Mega Basket in 2012. He's been credited as one of the main influencers in the game of Nikola Jokic before the two-time MVP came to the NBA.

Milojevic's impact will continue to live on through Jokic, a host of other European players whose game he helped mould, and those at the Warriors who were fortunate to work with him in the last three years.

But for all his basketball legacy, Milojevic was a husband and father. It's Natasa, Nikola and Masa who we think about most in this grieving time for the NBA and for the Golden State family.