The NBA world continues to mourn the sudden and tragic death of Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, who passed away on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack during a private team dinner in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Tuesday.
Players and coaches around the league shared social media posts honoring Milojevic, and several teams held moments of silence before their games in honor of the late coach. But on Friday night, perhaps one of the players most affected by passing broke his silence.
Warriors center Kevon Looney shared a five-photo post on his Instagram page Friday night accompanied by a heartfelt message in memory of Milojevic, the coach and “brother” he worked closely with in recent years.
Milojevic was in his third season as an assistant coach with the Warriors after an impressive 14-year international career, including stints in Serbia, Spain and Turkey.
After his retirement, Milojevic became the head coach of Serbian team Mega Vizura. Nearly a decade later, Golden State hired him as an assistant coach where he was initially tasked with working closely with former No. 2 pick and 7-foot center James Wiseman.
But when injuries derailed the start of Wiseman's NBA career, Milojevic turned his focus to Looney, particularly helping the Warriors' big man improve his rebounding. Yes, Milojevic is the guy credited with turning Looney into a rebounding machine.
In the first six seasons of his NBA career, Looney averaged 4.0 rebounds (1.6 offense, 2.4 defense) per 15 minutes per game. In the 2021-22 season, the same year Milojevic joined the coaching staff, Looney averaged 7.3 rebounds in 82 regular season games and 7.6 rebounds per game in Golden State's march to its fourth championship in eight seasons.
Last season, Looney set career highs across the board with seven points on 63 percent shooting, 9.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
While Milojevic helped Looney's influence on the field, their relationship was clearly stronger than his. And for that, Looney – and Dub Nation – are eternally grateful.
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”