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Jordan Brand chairman Larry Miller shot and killed a teenager in 1965. Miller revealed the murder, and his stint in prison, in a story at Sports Illustrated on Wednesday.
Miller, who held prominent positions with Campbell Soup, Kraft Foods, the Portland Trail Blazers and Jordan Brand over the last couple decades, told Sports Illustrated living with the pain of his secret was "eating me up inside."
Miller explained he joined a West Philadelphia gang when he was 13. Three years later, one of Miller's friends was stabbed and killed by a rival gang. Miller borrowed a gun from his girlfriend, drank a bottle of wine and went out with three friends to look for rival gang members. Miller shot and killed the first person he saw, another teenager, 18-year-old Edward White.
Miller decided to go public with his story after dealing with severe migraines and recurring nightmares. He also wants to share his experience with at-risk youth, and show others they do not have to allow "the worst mistake that they made" to define them.
“It’s really about making sure that people understand that formerly incarcerated people can make a contribution. And that a person’s mistake, or the worst mistake that they made in their life, shouldn’t control what happens with the rest of your life.”
Despite holding high-profile jobs for many years, Miller said he never lied about his past of prison time in interviews. He worried that taking those jobs would make it easier for others to uncover his past, but that never happened.
Larry Miller expresses regret over murder
Miller expressed remorse over the killing, explaining there was "no valid reason for this to happen."
“That’s what makes it even more difficult for me, because it was for no reason at all,” Miller says. “I mean, there was no valid reason for this to happen. And that’s the thing that I really struggle with and that’s — you know, it’s the thing that I think about every day. It’s like, I did this, and to someone who — it was no reason to do it. And that’s the part that really bothers me.”
He added that would go back and undo it if he could. Miller also said he was planning to reach out to White's family.
Miller decided to share his story for a book he's working on with his daughter. He wanted to discuss the shooting before the book because he didn't want it to leak, and wanted to be able to present the facts himself.
Miller took the same approach with close friends. He told Michael Jordan, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and several Nike executives about the shooting. Miller said the response has been positive.
Nike released a statement in support of Miller, calling his story "an example of the resilience, perseverance and strength of the human spirit."