Chairman of Jordan Brand Larry Miller reveals a lot about his past.
Ahead of the release of his forthcoming autobiography Jump: My secret journey from the street to the boardroom, Miller reveals a secret he’s kept to himself for decades.
In conversation with sports illustrated, Miller admitted to killing an 18-year-old in 1965 at the age of 16. While he spent time in prison for the crime, he says he still expresses deep regret and that the shooting “had no reason at all.”
“I mean, there was no good reason for it. And that’s the thing that I’m really struggling with, and that’s — you know, that’s the thing I think about every day,” he said. “It’s like, I did that, and for someone who – there wasn’t a reason to do it. And that’s the part that really bothers me.”
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The shooting occurred as Miller and other members of the West Philadelphia Cedar Avenue gang were looking for retribution after one of their own was killed in a fight by a rival gang. Miller says he shot the first person he and his gang members encountered — an 18-year-old who was later identified Edward Weiss.
“We were all drunk,” Miller told the magazine that night. “I was in a fog. When it kind of kicked in, I was like, ‘Oh shit, what have I done?’ It took me years to understand the true implications of what I had done.”
Miller hopes his story can help at-risk youth and inmates.
“If I could go back and undo it, I definitely would,” he said. “I can not. So all I can do is try to help other people and try to maybe prevent this from happening to someone else.”
Regarding telling his colleagues at Jordan Brand and in the NBA about his past crime, Miller said he was extremely nervous.
“I was definitely nervous to share with him just because I have so much respect and love for MJ,” he said of Michael Jordan. But Miller was “overwhelmed by the positive response,” he said, adding that it was “liberating.”
Miller co-wrote his memoirs with his eldest daughter, Leila and it is scheduled for release in early 2022. He says he’s being open about his past to avoid any leaks about what he was doing before the book’s release. “It was a really difficult decision for me,” Miller said, “because I ran away from it for 40 years. I tried to hide that and hope people didn’t find out.”
He built a successful career at companies like Campbell Soup, Kraft Foods and the Portland Trailblazers, where he served as team president, Nike and is now president of the Jordan brand, according to SI. But he also had migraines and nightmares that stayed with him for years and even hospitalized him.
But he’s also received support for being so outspoken from individuals like Jordan, the Nike founder Phil Knight, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and legendary college basketball coach George Raveling.
“It set me free,” he said. “I now feel the freedom to be myself.”
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