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Jordan Brand Chairman Larry Miller Addresses Killing Teenager in 1965, Jail Time

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 14, 2021

Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Jordan Brand chairman Larry Miller killed a man in 1965 in retaliation for the death of a friend by a local gang in Philadelphia and served time in prison for the killing.

Miller details his past in his forthcoming memoir, Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom, and provided an interview to Sports Illustrated's Howard Beck.

He explained how a younger friend had been stabbed to death while fighting with the 53rd and Pine gang. A member of the Cedar Avenue gang from the age of 13, Miller took a .38-caliber firearm, went out with a group of friends looking for members of the rival gang and shot the first person they saw.

"We were all drunk," Miller told Beck. "I was in a haze. Once it kind of set in, I was like, 'Oh, s--t, what have I done?' It took years for me to understand the real impact of what I had done."

According to Beck, Miller was unsure whether the person he shot—identified in news articles at the time as 18-year-old Edward White—had any culpability in his friend's death or was affiliated with the 53rd and Pine gang.

Beck wrote Miller "spent most of his years from ages 13 to 30 in juvenile detention or prison," resumed his education in prison and earned an accounting degree from Temple when he was 30.

After graduating, Miller interviewed for a job with accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He says he disclosed the 1965 killing, at which point the hiring partner made it clear the firm wouldn't be giving him a job. He decided from that point to keep the killing a secret but said he never lied on a job application or in an interview.

When he was hired at Campbell Soup Company, it required applicants only to disclose any arrests or convictions "in the last five years," which fell outside the time frame when Miller applied.

However, as his career continued and he took roles of greater visibility and responsibility, Miller said he lived "in constant fear that someone would uncover his past."

Miller began working at Nike Basketball in 1997 and was named president of Jordan Brand in 1999. He returned to the company in 2012 after having served as president of the Portland Trail Blazers.

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