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The chairman of Nike's Jordan brand admitted Wednesday that he shot and killed an 18-year-old who was part of a rival gang as a teenager 56 years ago in 1965, a story only a select few knew as he climbed the corporate ladder of the NBA.
Larry Miller, now 72, said he was a 16-year-old member of the Cedar Avenue gang at the time and that the shooting, which led to prison time, was in retaliation of a friend who was stabbed to death in Philadelphia.
“We were all drunk,” Miller told Sports Illustrated. “I was in a haze. Once it kind of set in, I was like, ‘Oh, s***, what have I done?’ It took years for me to understand the real impact of what I had done.”
While behind bars, Miller got an accounting degree from Temple University, which led to a job offer with an accountancy firm. However, when it learned of his crimes, it rescinded the offer. He vowed never to talk about it again, and the report noted there is little public record of his past.
Sports Illustrated said it was only able to track down a single newspaper clip, from the Philadelphia Daily News and dated Oct. 2, 1965, headlined, “Youth, 16, Admits Slaying of Rival Gang Member.”
Miller kept the dark episode from his past hidden from everyone, including close friends such as Michael Jordan. However, when he finally did comment on his past life, he said Jordan was supportive.
“It’s freed me. I feel freedom now to be me,” he said.
Miller said he hopes opening up about his criminal past will help at-risk youth reconsider criminal behavior and lead to a healthy and productive life, according to the report.
“It’s really about making sure that people understand that formerly incarcerated people can make a contribution and that a person’s mistake, or the worst mistake that they made in their life, shouldn’t control what happens with the rest of your life,” he said.
Over the past few months, Miller said he started telling people on his own terms.
Miller has served as the vice president of Nike Basketball, the president of the Jordan brand, and the president of the Portland Trail Blazers team in the NBA.
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Original Author: Misty Severi
Original Location: Top Nike executive admits to killing teenager 50 years ago while in gang