Nike Exec Served Jail Time For Second-Degree Murder, Advocates For Second Chances
In 1965, 16-year-old Larry Miller was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for the second-degree murder of a teenager in Philadelphia, PA. Shortly after, Miller served another sentence of five years for a series of armed robberies. Today, Larry Miller is the chairman of Nike’s Jordan Brand.
Miller was publicly identified in the Philadelphia Daily News after pleading guilty to the murder charges. But even then, Miller’s record seemed to fly under the radar as he worked his way up the ranks at companies like Campbell Soup, Kraft Foods and the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Now in his seventies, Miller has just published a memoir, revealing his criminal past. In his tell-all memoir, “Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom,” Miller offers hope to formerly incarcerated people who are capable of rehabilitation and success.
“It’s really about making sure that people understand that formerly incarcerated people can make a contribution,” said Miller in an interview.
“And that person’s mistake, or the worst mistake that they make in their life, shouldn’t control what happens with the rest of [their] life.”
During his incarceration, Miller used Pell Grants to further his education and attended college through a day-release program. In an interview with CNN, Miller revealed that his college experience led him to believe that he could actually change his life.
At 30 years old, Miller was released and graduated from Temple University.
Miller recalled that he was only an interview away from landing a position at a major accounting firm but was not offered the role after he disclosed his criminal background.
From then on, Miller essentially looked for loopholes when applying for jobs. Miller told Sports Illustrated that he never lied on an application, as most applications only asked if he’d been convicted in the prior five years.
But as he gained more success, Miller always feared his past would catch up to him.
“There was always this tension and this fear that somehow this is going to come out, and it’s going to ruin everything I’ve built up to this point,” Miller told CNN.
To relieve some of the tension, his daughter Laila Lacy suggested publishing a book. But before writing a tell-all, Miller consulted with close friends and colleagues, including the NBA’s one and only Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight.
But ahead of the book’s release, the family of Edward White, the teenager Miller killed in 1965, spoke out as they felt blind-sighted by the Sports Illustrated article that was published without their knowledge.
In December 2021, Miller met with White’s family. According to the New York Times, White’s sister, Barbara Mack, said they could forgive Miller. Azizah Arline, one of White’s children, however, said she needed more time.
“If nothing else comes out of this book … the most important thing for me is to be able to know that in spite of the pain and hurt I caused their family, that they’re willing to forgive me,” said Miller.
Miller is working with the family to establish a scholarship foundation, funded in perpetuity, to help White’s descendants attend college or trade school.