Assistant coach Dejan Milojević died on Jan. 17 after he suffered a heart attack during a team dinner
It was an emotional night for the Golden State Warriors as the team honored beloved assistant coach Dejan Milojević, who died on Jan. 17 after he suffered a heart attack during a team dinner.
The Warriors played their first game since Milojević's death at Chase Center in San Francisco on Wednesday, after having postponed multiple games as the organization mourned his loss.
Just before tipoff, the arena showed a video tribute to Milojević that left the team's players and Milojević's family, who were in attendance, visibly emotional.
The touching homage included video footage of Milojević working with Warriors players during practices and games, and video interviews with players and coaches.
"He always just had a gleam in his eye and a laugh, and he just constantly saw the good in people and the joy in life," head coach Steve Kerr said in the tribute.
Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajaković appeared in the video, recalling Milojević as "always having a smile on his face."
That sentiment was echoed by another assistant coach for the Warriors, who said, "Deki was such a joy to be around. I really just appreciated his demeanor and his love of life every day, and that's what I will forever remember him for, just the joy he brought to this team, to this city,"
The tribute included footage from a past video interview with Milojević, where the coach said it's "a great feeling" to watch his players develop on the court. "I really love my job," Milojević said.
Ultimately, the Warriors were able to shift their focus to basketball and defeated the Atlanta Hawks 134-112.
The longtime coach and former player died at a Salt Lake City area hospital the morning after suffering a heart attack while Golden State was at a private dinner ahead of their game against the Utah Jazz, the Warriors said in a statement posted on X.
“We’re absolutely devastated by Dejan’s sudden passing,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said at the time. “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.”
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Kerr continued, “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. We grieve with and for his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa. Their loss is unfathomable.”
Milojević was in his third season as an assistant coach with the Warriors after helping the team win the 2022 NBA championship.
Prior to the Warriors, Milojević was the head coach KK Budućnost in the Adriatic League in Montenegro, and previously he had been the head coach for KK Mega Basket in Belgrade, Serbia, for eight seasons, according to the Warriors media guide.
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Read the original article on People.