Steve Kerr attends funeral of Warriors assistant Dejan Milojević in Serbia

BELGRADE, Serbia — Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević, a mentor to two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, was buried Monday in his native Serbia after suffering a heart attack last month.

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral on a rainy day at a Belgrade cemetery, including Warriors coach Steve Kerr, general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr., basketball operations consultant Zaza Pachulia and trainer Rick Celebrini.

A flower-draped casket was carried by Milojević’s former Serbian teammates.

Milojević died Jan. 17 in Salt Lake City, where he was hospitalized after a medical emergency during a private team dinner. Milojević, part of the staff that helped the Warriors win the 2022 NBA championship, was 46.

Milojević’s death triggered a massive outpouring of sympathy from 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.

Predrag Danilović, the president of the Serbian Basketball Federation, said there was no person who did not respect and love Milojević.

“A great basketball player, great coach left us, and above all a great man, a man without a single stain. I had that honor and pleasure to be friends with him even though we did not play together,” Danilovic said at a formal commemoration for Milojević on Saturday.

Marko Kešelj, of Serbia’s Ministry of Sports and a former basketball player, said the sport was Milojević’s life.

“With his positive energy. he brought out the best in us,” Kešelj said. “He motivated us to be better in every way, as people and as players. Deki was a friend, mentor, he was a leader.”

Milojević was in his third season with the Warriors. He previously coached in Serbia — where he once worked with a young Jokic before the current Denver Nuggets star came to the United States — along with Montenegro, and had been an assistant coach for the Serbian national team alongside current Hawks assistant Igor Kokoškov.

Milojević worked closely with Jokic, Clippers center Ivica Zubac, Magic center Goga Bitadze and Rockets center Boban Marjanovic, among others, during his time as a coach in Europe.

Milojević won three consecutive MVP awards in the Adriatic League, which comprises teams from former Yugoslavia, taking those trophies in 2004, 2005 and 2006 when the 6-foot-7, 240-pound power forward was at the peak of his playing career. Jokic was MVP of that league in 2015.

Before joining the Warriors, Milojević had NBA experience through summer league assistant-coaching stints with Atlanta, San Antonio and Houston.

Kerr and the Warriors’ other representative will not return in time for Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz.

Milojević is survived by his wife, Nataša, and their children, Nikola and Maša.

ESPN’s Kendra Andrews contributed to this report.

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