Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made the trek to Belgrade, Serbia, this weekend to attend the funeral of assistant coach Dejan Milojević.
Milojević experienced a heart attack at a team dinner with the Warriors last month and later died. He was 46.
According to ESPN, hundreds of people attended the funeral on Monday at a cemetery in Belgrade. Kerr was joined by Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr., assistant coaches Chris DeMarco and Ron Adams, basketball operations consultant Zaza Pachulia and trainer Rick Celebrini.
The Warriors delegation will not make it back to the United States in time for their game against the Utah Jazz on Monday. As a result, Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson will replace Kerr as the team’s head coach for that contest in Salt Lake City.
Milojević experienced a heart attack while with the Warriors at a team dinner in Utah on Jan. 16. He was hospitalized and died the next day. The NBA then postponed a pair of Warriors games as a result.
The team returned to the court nine days later in an emotional scene. They all wore black warmup shirts with the Serbian word, "brate" written across the front, which means "brother" in English. They also unveiled a new jersey patch with Milojević's initials that they'll wear for the rest of the season.
"The world lost a beautiful soul last week," Kerr said ahead of their first game back. "Deki was a wonderful friend, a hell of a basketball coach, a great man and most importantly, a beautiful grandson, son, husband and father. The mark that he's left on our organization the last three years … that was him every day. The smile, the joy, the laughter, it was ever present. What he meant to us was a huge part of who we are. He's a part of our soul."
Milojević played professionally in Europe for 14 years, first in his native Serbia and then in Spain, Montenegro and Turkey. He won three straight MVP awards in the Adriatic League — which is the same league Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić played and won MVP honors in — from 2004-2006. He retired in 2009, and started coaching a few years later. He joined Kerr’s staff in 2021.
"A great basketball player, great coach left us, and above all a great man, a man without a single stain," Serbian basketball federation president Predrag Danilović said at a commemoration for Milojević on Saturday, via ESPN. "I had that honor and pleasure to be friends with him even though we did not play together."