Hundreds of mourners, including Warriors coach Steve Kerr, attended the funeral at a Belgrade cemetery on a rainy day. A coffin draped with flowers was carried by his former Serbian comrades.
Milojević died on January 17 in Salt Lake City, where he had been hospitalized after suffering a medical emergency during a private team dinner. Milojevic, 46, was part of the staff that helped the Warriors win the 2022 NBA championship.
Milojević’s death prompted a massive outpouring of sympathy among the basketball community and fans in his homeland, where he was a star player with Partizan Belgrade and other clubs in Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey and Spain before turning to coaching.
Serbian Basketball Federation President Predrag Danilovic said that there is no person who does not respect and love Milojević.
“A great basketball player, great coach left us and above all a great man, a man without a stain,” Danilovic said at a formal event. “Even though we didn’t play together, it was great to be friends with him.” It was an honor and a pleasure for me.” Milojević’s commemoration on Saturday.
Marko Keselj of Serbia’s Sports Ministry and a former basketball player said that sport was Milojević’s life.
“With his positive energy he brought out the best in us,” Keselj said. “He pushed us to be better in every way as people and players. Deke was a friend, he was a mentor, he was a leader.”
Milojević was in his third season with the Warriors. He previously coached in Serbia – where he worked with a young Jokic before current denver nuggets Starr came to the United States – with Montenegro, while also being an assistant coach for the Serbian national team with current Atlanta assistant Igor Koskov.
Milojević won three consecutive MVP awards in the Adriatic League, which consisted of teams from the former Yugoslavia, winning these trophies in 2004, 2005, and 2006, when the 6-foot-7-inch, 240-pound power forward was at the peak of his playing career. Jokic was that league’s MVP in 2015.
Prior to joining the Warriors, Milojević had NBA experience as a summer league assistant coach with Atlanta, San Antonio and Houston.
Milojević is survived by his wife Natasa and their children Nikola and Masa.
Reporting by the Associated Press.
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