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Warriors honor Milojević's legacy in moving pregame ceremony

Warriors honor Milojević's legacy in moving pregame ceremony originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The Warriors returned to the court Wednesday for the first time since the death of their beloved assistant coach Dejan Milojević, in what was certain to be an emotional night for all.

Ahead of tipoff against the Atlanta Hawks at Chase Center, Golden State honored Milojević, known to those who loved him as "Deki," through a variety of means, from T-shirts emblazoned with "brate," the Serbian word for "brother," to an incredibly moving ceremony that embodied the organization's adoration for the late coach.

The pregame ceremony featured a tribute video to Milojević produced by the organization.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who has guided Golden State through its grief since Milojević's passing last Wednesday, shared a few heartfelt words with the Chase Center crowd about his assistant coach.

"The world lost a beautiful soul last week," Kerr said. "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 -- you just saw in the pictures -- that was him every day.

"The smile, the joy, the laughter -- it was ever-present. And what he meant to us was a huge part of who we are. He's a part of our soul."

Kerr thanked the basketball world at large for their words of support for both the Warriors and Milojević in the wake of his passing, and both the Serbian and American national anthems were played before the start of Wednesday's game as his family watched on.

The Warriors also wore Milojević jerseys for the pregame tribute, then laid them in the seat where their coach normally would have been sitting that night.

After a one-week hiatus to mourn a member of the Warriors family, Golden State's first game back is as difficult as they come for reasons beyond the court.

But Wednesday's tribute was a reminder of the light Milojević provided to the basketball world, and his memory never will be forgotten in the Bay nor anywhere else on the globe.

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