SAN FRANCISCO - The NBA postponed Friday's game between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks following the sudden death of Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević.
"The date for the rescheduled game will be announced at a later time," stated the league.
Milojević, a key member of the staff contributing to the Warriors' 2022 NBA championship, passed away on Wednesday in Utah due to a heart attack, as announced by the team. He was 46 years old.
Milojević died in Salt Lake City, where he was hospitalized Tuesday night after the medical emergency happened during a private team dinner. The Warriors had been scheduled to play the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, a game the NBA had also postponed.
"We are absolutely devastated by Dejan’s sudden passing," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said in a statement released by the team. "This is a shocking and tragic blow for everyone associated with the Warriors and an incredibly difficult time for his family, friends, and all of us who had the incredible pleasure to work with him."
Photos of Dejan Milojevic courtesy: Golden State Warriors.
Former Warriors General Manager Bob Myers gave an emotional tribute on ESPN's NBA Countdown.
"He was this bigger than life person and he would light up a room and it's such a loss because he's gone," Myers said.
Milojević was in his third season with Golden State as an assistant coach.
Born in Serbia, Milojevic's love for basketball started on the court, playing professionally for 14 years in Europe, including as a member of the Soviet and Montenegro national teams.
He then turned to coaching. Milojević spent the 2021 season as head coach of KK Budućnost in the Adriatic League in Montenegro.
He also worked with the Hawks, the San Antonio Spurs in 2017 and the Houston Rockets in 2018.
In a video posted by the Golden State Warriors, Kerr explained why he recruited Milojević, or "Decky" as he called him. Kerr said, "He was so great to be around, but at the same time, had this amazing basketball background as a player and a coach, and it made so much sense for us to bring Decky in."
"It’s been great to watch Decky develop as a coach, as he’s gotten more comfortable with the language and culture, and our group and the guys love him. The players love him," said Kerr.
UCSF Health Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist Doctor Zian Tseng said, although he's not familiar with this particular case, he's not surprised at the sudden death of a 46-year-old athletic man. He said, "It can happen to anybody, with any level of fitness."
Dr. Tseng said, "Pay attention to warning signs and symptoms, such as, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting is a big symptom. Palpitations or skipping heart beats is another one. Swelling in the legs is another warning sign that should prompt you to call your doctor."