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Warriors coach Steve Kerr remembers assistant Dejan Milojević after his death: 'It's just the saddest thing'

The NBA postponed two Warriors games in the wake of Dejan Milojević's death

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr sat down Monday afternoon wearing a black T-shirt that read "Brate,” which means “brother” in Serbian.

As the Warriors get going again following the death of assistant Dejan Milojević, Kerr struggled to explain what the past week was like for his team.

“Heartbreaking. Devastating,” Kerr said. “It’s just the saddest thing I’ve ever been a part of in the NBA. We lose someone who is so close to us, and then, more importantly, seeing his family suffer. This last week has been … full of all of the above.”

Milojević experienced a heart attack at a team dinner last week in Utah. He was hospitalized, and he died the next morning. He was 46.

The NBA postponed the Warriors’ next two games, one that night against the Jazz and one Friday against the Dallas Mavericks, which was something Kerr said was much needed. It’s unclear when those will be made up.

“We needed [the break],” Kerr said. “There’s no way any of us could’ve walked out onto a court and played a basketball game either Wednesday or Friday.”

Milojević has been around professional basketball for decades. He spent 14 years as a player, competing in his native Serbia, Spain, Montenegro and Turkey. He retired in 2009 due to knee issues and started coaching a few years later. He joined Kerr’s staff in 2021 after working as an assistant elsewhere in the league.

Plenty of players and others around the league spoke out to honor Milojević after his death, including Hawks guard and fellow Serbian Bogdan Bogdanovic.

"He was a great player, but he never chased his career," Bogdanovic said. "He always wanted to live a family lifestyle with his kids in the good cities. He never chased money. I feel that's a great example for everyone.

"He believed that if you don't like your life, there is no way you can perform in your job, you cannot maximize your job. You cannot maximize your potential if you're not happy in your life because sometimes people value more their jobs and some other stuff."

Warriors assistant Dejan Milojević experienced a heart attack at a team dinner last week and died. He was 46.
Warriors assistant Dejan Milojević experienced a heart attack at a team dinner last week and died. He was 46. (AP/Jeff Chiu) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Warriors now have to turn around and resume playing this week. They’ll host the Hawks on Wednesday, which will mark their first game in nine days. They hold an 18-22 record and have lost four of their past five headed into Wednesday’s contest at the Chase Center.

It’s not going to be easy, and Kerr knows everyone in the organization will process Milojević’s death differently. But at least for Kerr, he knows exactly what Milojević would say to him and the team at this moment.

“I literally could picture Deki smiling and laughing and saying, ‘You motherf***ers need to go win a basketball game.’ And then laughing,” Kerr said.

“That’s exactly what he would have said with a smile on his face. He would’ve laughed. He would’ve, win or lose, still been smiling and laughing and having great suggestions of what we can do differently. But he really embodied the spirit and the values that we try to display as a team and as an organization."