Nike chief executive Larry Miller, who kept his past a secret for more than 50 years, told CNBC he was grateful to the family of the man he killed in 1965 when he was a teenager for forgiving him.
Miller, former president and current chairman of the Nike Jordan brand, was found guilty of shooting and killing 18-year-old Edward White. Miller was 16 at the time. Now 72-year-old Miller then pleaded guilty and spent 4.5 years in prison. He served another five years for a series of armed robberies.
As he rose through the ranks at Nike, Miller never talked about his troubled past. He is now releasing a memoir, co-authored with his daughter, titled Jump: My Secret Journey from the Streets to the Boardroom. It was posted earlier this week.
Miller met with White’s family last month.
“If nothing else comes out of this book … the most important thing for me is to know that despite the pain and hurt that I caused their family, that they are ready to forgive me,” Miller said this week on The News with Shepard Smith.”
Miller met White’s sister, Barbara Mack, as well as two of White’s children. Mac, now 84 years old, told The New York Times she forgave Miller for the murder, but told him that if she were 30 years younger, she “would be across the table”.
At the time of the murder, White had an 8-month-old child, Hassan Adams; and another Aziza Arline, born after his death. Adams, now 56, said he also forgives Miller. Arlene, 55, told The Times she’s not “100 percent forgiving” yet, but hopes to be one day.
When he first thought about writing a book, Miller said he was talking to longtime friend and colleague Michael Jordan along with Nike co-founder Phil Knight.
“I think if one of them said: “I don’t know if you should do this”, I could refrain. But they both agreed… that was the story I have to tell,” Miller said. Smith.
“I feel comfortable when my story gets published,” Miller added. “I tried so hard to hide over the years… It kind of freed me from having to carry this around.”
Miller, who also previously served as NBA team president for the Portland Trail Blazers, was the first told his story to Sports Illustrated in October before any information about the book could be leaked.
Layla Lacey, Miller’s daughter, pushed her father for 13 years to tell his story. They started working on the memoir about six years ago.
Miller told SI that he hopes his story can show that “ex-prisoners can make a difference”.