SHOCKING: Nike Exec. Larry Miller Admits to Murdering Teen, Receives Praise From Nike, CEO

President of Jordan Brand, Larry Miller, answers journalists questions at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on September 13, 2018 after the presentation of the new basketball jerseys of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) with acronym 'Jordan'. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata …
FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

In a shocking interview, Nike’s Jordan brand chairman admitted to murdering a teenager decades ago and described receiving support and praise from the company and others in the aftermath of the gruesome revelation, with Nike stating that it is “proud” of Miller “and the hope and inspiration his story can offer.”

In a recent Sports Illustrated interview, titled “He Rose to the Highest Levels of Business and Basketball—but With a Secret,” the Philadelphia native and Jordan brand chairman revealed his “secret” crime to the sports weekly.

In the piece, Miller — who oversaw the transformation of the Jordan brand — is described as conveying “a life of comfort and privilege, of celebrated achievements and celebrity friendships,” with his office displaying autographed gloves from heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali, a commemorative basketball from former President Barack Obama, and signed notes from NBA legend Michael Jordan, a close friend of his.

But before the 72-year-old Miller became the successful businessman he is today, he shot and killed a fellow teenager in 1965 and spent years in prison.

During the 90-minute interview, the long-time Nike executive admitted the murder was senseless, as he was not even familiar with the victim who was identified as 18-year-old Edward White, an alleged “rival gang member.”

“[I]t was for no reason at all,” Miller said. “I mean, there was no valid reason for [the murder] to happen.”

Miller had previously been arrested on multiple occasions, for various offenses, having spent the majority of his teens and twenties incarcerated.

“I started being more interested in impressing people in the street than I did my teachers and parents,” he continued. “By the time I was 16, I was just a straight-up gangbanger, thug. I was drinking every day.”

Further details, he said, will appear in his upcoming memoir, Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom, which is set for release next year.

He also described the feeling of keeping the murder to himself for decades as “eating me up inside,” with the decision to reveal it difficult as well. 

“This was a really difficult decision for me,” he said, “because for 40 years, I ran from this. I tried to hide this and hope that people didn’t find out about it.”

He also noted that discussing the matter was liberating after having lived with the fear of being exposed at any moment for years.

“It’s freed me,” he said. “I feel the freedom now to be me.”

By hiding his “secret,” Miller was able to build a successful career holding various positions at different companies, including manager for Kraft Foods, and eventually vice president and general manager of Nike Basketball, and, later, president of the newly-launched Jordan brand and also president of the Portland Trail Blazers.

He currently serves as chairman of Nike’s Jordan brand.

For months, Miller has been informing close ones, beginning with Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, and expressed shock over the amount of support he received in return.

“I’ve been blown away by how positive the response has been,” he said.

After supportive responses from Jordan and Knight, he began telling others, including NBA commissioner Adam Silver and several Nike executives.

Silver told SI that he went from “stunned to amazed that Larry had managed his long and very successful professional career, operating at the highest levels in our industry, with this secret firmly intact.” 

He also expressed sadness that Miller “carried this burden all these years without the support of his many friends and colleagues,” noting that the experience granted Miller “a broader perspective from which to judge his life and work.”

“I think it also made him an especially supportive and understanding friend when it came to dealing with others’ foibles and mistakes,” he added.

Nike CEO John Donahoe told SI that Miller “played an influential role in Nike history and is a beloved member of the Nike family.” 

“His story is an example of the resilience, perseverance and strength of the human spirit,” he added. 

Nike said in a statement to BBC News that Miller’s life was “an incredible story of second chances.”

“We are proud of Larry Miller and the hope and inspiration his story can offer,” the company said.

At one point, Miller’s oldest child, Lacy, began pushing him to consider disclosing the details in an autobiography, and the two began working on it nearly six years ago.

“He’s always been an inspiration to me and to all of us in our family,” Lacy said. “So I just kind of felt it was our duty to share it, to share that inspiration, to share the possibilities with other people.”

Miller intends to use the experience to help others and warn youth of the risks of violence.

“It’s really about making sure that people understand that formerly incarcerated people can make a contribution,” he said. “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.”

“[A]ll I can do is try to do what I can to help other people and try to maybe prevent this from happening to someone else,” he stated.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.

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