Honoring Dejan Milojevic

January 26, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; An empty chair behind the Golden State Warriors bench in honor of the late assistant coach Dejan Milojevic before the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
On Wednesday night, I covered the Warriors in their first game back since their assistant coach Dejan Milojevic suffered a heart attack during a team dinner and passed away. NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors coaching staff stand in honor of the late assistant coach Dejan Milojevic before the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

This was HEAVY.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) wipes away tears before the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski (2) and forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (32) before the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) with tears on his cheek while the team remembers their late assistant coach assistant coach Dejan Milojevic before the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In so many ways, I hate it. I like capturing the pain of losing a game, that kind of emotion is raw and real, but it also "doesn't really matter" because "it's just a game". But to try to photograph the pain of losing a person, it felt invasive. I can't imagine losing a loved one, having to grieve publicly, and having a bunch of cameras in my face... and yet here I am, being a person behind one of those cameras! (Though I tried to give them plenty of space, unlike TV that was right up in there!) NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors staff and players honor the late assistant coach Dejan Milojevic before the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The only thing that made me more uncomfortable than taking pictures of players crying, was that after the whole recognition (asking for an ovation as opposed to a moment of silence), player intros, then it's like "Wah-Wah-Warrrrrrriors! Make. Some. Noooooise!" Really?! Are we are all expected to flip a switch and carry on?
NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates after scoring a basket against the Atlanta Hawks during the second quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) smiles after scoring against the Atlanta Hawks during the first quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In some ways, I guess the answer is "yes!" And this is also why I love sports. Sports gives us this platform for big feelings. But yet, it also provides the distraction from those same feelings. Allows us to feeling alive again. Smile again. And be reminded that the world sometimes sucks and feels unfair but it is still turning and if we are so lucky to still be alive, let's be alive!

How About You?

All thoughts welcome. How are you feeling after hearing about his loss? How do you feel about death in general? Are there things you are uncomfortable photographing? Do you hope you'll have a big recognition when you die? Is your trust set up?

Check It

I have to remind myself I am a photojournalist. And in today's disheartening journalism landscape, I am always thinking what can I do to better tell a story. To be a more valuable contractor. To feel less like a vulture and more like a story teller who actively thinks about how to tell a story, note how I switched from f/2.8 to f/8 here so that "Dejan Milojevic" was more in focus

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; XXXX during the first quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsNBA: Atlanta Hawks at Golden State WarriorsJan 24, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr speaks about the late assistant coach Dejan Milojevic before the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Challenge

Tell your people you love them. Be grateful for every extra day you get to spend with them.


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I am a sports photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I primarily photograph sports (action, events, and portraits) ... and my feet.

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