The biography of Darko Rajaković, the Toronto Raptors head coach

The biography of Darko Rajaković, the Toronto Raptors head coach

Helix Odhiambo
updated at January 19, 2024 at 4:08 PM

Born and raised in Serbia, Darko Rajaković gained recognition as the second European head coach in the history of the NBA. The Toronto Raptors' tactician has come a long way, from honing his craft in his homeland as a teenager to conquering the NBA with his unique approach and focus on player development.

Darko Rajaković's age
Toronto Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic looks on against Cleveland Cavaliers at the Scotiabank Arena on 1 January 2024 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Mark Blinch
Source: Getty Images

Unlike many top NBA coaches, Rajaković did not play basketball. He gave up his dreams at a young age to venture into coaching. The Serbian has nearly a decade of experience coaching in the NBA, where he has been an assistant for many years. This article reveals his background, career, family, and net worth.

Darko Rajaković's profile summary

Full name

Darko Rajaković

Date of birth

22 February 1979


44 (as of January 2024)

Place of birth

Čačak, Serbia




Basketball coach


Toronto Raptors


Gaga Rajaković



Net worth

$1 million - $5 million

Social media

X (Twitter)

How old is Darko Rajaković?

NBA coach Darko Rajaković (age 44 as of January 2024) was born and raised in Čačak, Serbia, where he began his career.


The Raptors tactician received a degree in basketball coaching from the Belgrade Basketball Academy. He later graduated from Alfa BK University with a bachelor's degree in sports management.

Darko Rajaković's career

Darko Rajaković's coaching style
Darko Rajakovic (L) of the Toronto Raptors talks with Marquis Nowell during their game against the Wizards at Scotiabank Arena on 20 October 2023, in Toronto. Photo: Cole Burston
Source: Getty Images

Darko is one of the most famous coaches in the NBA, but his story begins in Serbia, where he quit playing basketball to become a coach in his teens. Here is a timeline of Darko Rajaković's coaching record and achievements, including his inspiring journey.

Early career

The Serbian began coaching in 1996 at 16, following his appointment as the Borac Cacak youth system coach. He trained the team's seven- and eight-year-olds, helping them nurture their talents.

"When I stopped playing, I was just like 15 years old, and to be honest with you, it was like the world crashed for me. I just lost my identity."

Darko also coached the Crvena Zvezda youth system in Belgrade, Serbia, from 1999-2007, leading them to two Serbian Youth championships.

Spain career

Rajaković moved to Spain in 2009 for a new experience. He was appointed the head coach of the Espacio Torreldones in the Spanish EBA League. The Serbian held the position for three years before jumping to the NBA. He also served as a scouting consultant and NBA Summer League assistant coach for the Spurs from 2004-2011.

NBA tenure

Darko Rajaković's interview
Head coach Darko Rajaković of the Toronto Raptors reacts during their game at Arena on 10 January 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Sean M. Haffey
Source: Getty Images

Darko began his NBA journey at Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League and an affiliate of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was the team's head coach from 2012-2014, registering a 51-49 record and leading them to the 2013 NBA G League semifinals.

The Serbian coached the likes of Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Andre Roberson at Tulsa 66ers. He later joined the Oklahoma City Thunder as an assistant coach between 2014 and 2019. Darko guided the team to four consecutive playoffs (2016-2019).

Rajaković signed for the Phoenix Suns as assistant manager in 2019 but stayed for just a season before moving to the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant for three years. He also served as an interim coach of the Grizzlies in five games in 2022 when head coach Taylor Jenkins was out for health and safety protocols.

Darko Rajaković's contract
The Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri (L) introduces Darko Rajakovic (R) as the new head coach at Maple Leaf Square in Toronto on 13 June 2023. Photo: Steve Russell
Source: Getty Images

The experienced tactician recorded 4-1 as an interim, including a historic 116-108 win over the Golden State Warriors. Rajaković joined the Toronto Raptors in June 2023, becoming the 10th head coach in the team's history after replacing Nick Nurse.

National team

Darko served as an assistant coach of the Serbian national basketball team under Aleksandar Đorđević in 2019. His first game was at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, where they finished fifth. Serbia also boasts another legendary figure in the NBA, Nikola Jokić, who plays as a centre for the Denver Nuggets.

Darko Rajaković and Jokić have also worked together at the national team and are great friends. The Nuggets centre even spent time at Darko's home celebrating a Serbian holiday.

Darko Rajaković's coaching style

Rajaković is a proponent of versatility and ball movement philosophy. He envisions utilising players' skills and rotations to build out the team and make them unpredictable.

"Basketball is played less and less, giving the ball to one guy and just getting that guy to go to work. It's more of interchangeable pieces, multiple players contributing. It's hard to scout opponents when they play that way, it's hard to play against teams that play that way. We want to be one of those teams."

Interesting facts about Darko Rajaković

Darko Rajaković's salary
Darko Rajakovic of the Toronto Raptors is among the best and famous foreign coaches in the NBA. He has a wealth of experience in the league. Photo: Scott Taetsch
Source: Getty Images

The coach has brought life and hope to the Raptors fans with his dynamic tactics and energy. Although the team continues struggling this season, the future looks bright. Here are some interesting facts about the tactician.

Darko Rajaković net worth and salary

Darko Rajaković's contracts, bonuses, and endorsements have earned him millions, making him one of the wealthiest Serbians in the NBA. The Raptors manager has an estimated net worth of $1 million to $5 million as of January 2024. So, how much does Darko Rajaković make?

Darko Rajaković's salary remains undisclosed, but he reportedly earns around $3 million annually. According to sources, the average annual salary of an NBA coach is around $3.5 million, with the lowest receiving a minimum of $2 million.

Darko Rajaković's fine

How much does Darko Rajaković make?
Head coach Darko Rajakovic of the Toronto Raptors directs his team during their game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on 28 November 2023. Photo: Sarah Stier
Source: Getty Images

The NBA fined Darko $25,000 on 11 January 2024, two days after ranting about officiating following his team's 132-131 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. In a post-match interview, Darko Rajaković lamented how the Lakers got 23 free throws in the fourth quarter while the Raptors shot only two.

"What happened tonight, this is completely B.S. This is shame. Shame for the referees. Shame for the league to allow this. Twenty-three free throws for them, and we get two free throws in the fourth quarter?"

Who is Darko Rajaković's agent?

Spencer Breecker of CAA represents the Raptors head coach as his agent. The two are close friends and share many conversations about life besides basketball.

Is Darko Rajaković married?

The Serbian basketball coach is married to Gaga Rajaković. They have been together for nearly two decades. Although details of Darko Rajaković's wife, Gaga, remain undisclosed, she has undoubtedly supported her husband in his career. The couple has a young son, Luka. Darko and his family live in Etobicoke, Toronto.

Social media

Gaga's husband has an active X(Twitter) account with 12.1k followers as of January 2024. There are no verified accounts for him on Instagram and Facebook.

Final word

Darko Rajaković is a reputable basketball coach with a brilliant portfolio and years of experience in management and nurturing young talents. He is among the best foreign NBA coaches who never played basketball and continues to inspire many people.

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Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.