Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic dies aged 46. NBA

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic was remembered around the NBA as a warm friend and influential mentor after his death on Wednesday at the age of 46.

The Serbian coach had suffered a heart attack at a team dinner in Salt Lake City on Tuesday night and died on Wednesday morning, the Warriors announced. 

Milojevic, who played in Spain and Turkey as well as his native Serbia, where he began his coaching career, joined the Warriors as an assistant in 2021. He was part of the staff on the team that won the NBA championship in 2022.

The Warriors said he died "despite life-saving efforts" in Utah, where the Warriors' game against the Jazz was postponed on Wednesday. "We are absolutely devastated by Dejan's sudden passing," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. 

"This is a shocking and tragic blow to everyone associated with the Warriors and an incredibly difficult time for his family, friends, and all of us who had the incredible pleasure of working with him.

"In addition to being a great basketball coach, Dejan was one of the most positive and beautiful men I have ever known, someone who brought joy and light to every single day with his passion and energy. We mourn with and for his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa. Their loss is unfathomable." 

Teams across the league paid tribute to "Deki" with a minute's silence before Wednesday's games.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Milojevic was "a beloved colleague and dear friend to so many in the global basketball community." Players paid tribute on social media, with Karl-Anthony Towns calling Milojevic's death a "terrible loss for the NBA community", while Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski said goodbye to a friend. 

"You changed my life in such a short time," Podziemski wrote in a social media post. "The most important thing you ever told me was to just smile! Your joy and laughs will be missed forever."