Nike executive Larry Miller, who kept his past secret for more than 50 years, told CNBC that he’s thankful the family of a man he killed in 1965 when he was a teenager forgives him.
Miller, former president and current chairman of Nike’s Jordan brand, was convicted of shooting and killing 18-year-old Edward White. Miller was 16 years old at the time. Now 72, Miller pleaded guilty back then and spent 4½ years in prison. He served five additional years for a series of armed robberies.
While rising through the ranks at Nike, Miller never talked about his troubled past. Now, he’s releasing a memoir, co-written with his daughter, titled “Jump: My Secret Journey from the Streets to the Boardroom.” It published earlier this week.
Last month, Miller met with the White’s family.
“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,” Miller said this week on “The News with Shepard Smith.“
Miller met with White’s sister, Barbara Mack, along with White’s two children. Mack, now 84, told The New York Times she forgave Miller for the murder but told him if she had been 30 years younger, she “would have been across the table.”
At the time of the murder, White had an 8-month-old child, Hasan Adams; and another Azizah Arline, who was born after his death. Adams, now 56, said he forgives Miller as well. Arline, 55, told the Times that she’s not yet “100 percent forgiving” but hopes to be one day.
When he first considered writing the book, Miller said he spoke to longtime friend and colleague Michael Jordan along with Nike co-founder Phil Knight.
“I think if either one of them had said, you know, ‘I don’t know if you should do this,’ I might have been reluctant. But they both agreed … this was a story that I should tell,” Miller told Smith.
“I’m getting comfortable with my story being out there,” Miller added. “I tried so hard to hide over the years. … It’s kind of been freeing to be able to not have to carry this around.”
Miller, who was also formerly president of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, first told his story to Sports Illustrated in October before any details about the book could be leaked.
Laila Lacy, Miller’s daughter, pushed her father for 13 years to tell his story. They began working on the memoir about six years ago.
Miller told SI that he hopes his story can show that, “formerly incarcerated people can make a contribution.”