Larry Miller said he kept his crime a secret from Michael Jordan for years.
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  • The chairman of Nike's Jordan brand told Sports Illustrated he murdered an 18-year-old in 1965.
  • Larry Miller said he shot the teenager following a gang fight. Miller was 16 at the time.
  • Miller said he kept it a secret for decades, but had begun opening up over the past several months.
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Larry Miller, the chairman of Nike's Jordan brand, fatally shot a teenager in 1965, he told Sports Illustrated in an interview published on Wednesday.

Miller told the publication that he shot 18-year-old Edward White following a gang fight in West Philadelphia. Miller was 16 at the time, and in a gang called Cedar Avenue, he said.

Miller's friend, who Miller considered "an innocent," was stabbed to death in the fight, he said. Later that month, Miller and others went out looking for anyone affiliated with the rival gang, and shot the first person they encountered, he said.

He said he didn't know White, and wasn't sure if White was even connected to the rival gang, which was called 53rd and Pine.

"We were all drunk," Miller told the publication. "I was in a haze."

He spent most of his teens and 20s in prison or juvenile detention facilities, he told Sports Illustrated, including for his role in the teenager's death.

"By the time I was 16, I was just a straight-up gangbanger, thug," he said. "I was drinking every day."

He had tried to hide his criminal past from friends and colleagues, he said, before recently telling some of the people close to him.

"If I could go back and undo it, I would absolutely do that," Miller said. "I can't. So all I can do is try to do what I can to help other people and try to maybe prevent this from happening to someone else."

Miller, who also spent five years as the team president of NBA team the Portland Trail Blazers, told the publication that he had been a "straight-A student, teacher's pet," but that he joined the Cedar Avenue gang, in West Philadelphia, aged 13.

Miller said that while in prison, he studied for an accounting degree with Temple University. After he left prison, he almost got a job with accounting firm Arthur Andersen, but after he disclosed his criminal past in a final interview, the company's hiring partner changed their mind on offering him a job, Miller said.

From then on, Miller tried to keep his crime a secret, which led to recurring nightmares and migraines, he said.

After roles at Kraft Foods and Campbell Soup Company, Miller became vice president of Nike Basketball in 1997, then president of the Jordan brand in 1999, and then president of the Trail Blazers in 2007.

He returned to the Jordan brand in 2012, and is currently chairman.

Miller kept it a secret from his friends and colleagues

Miller told Sports Illustrated that he had previously kept his past concealed from some of his children, who he eventually told around 2003.

He had also kept it a secret from his close friend Michael Jordan, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and Nike founder Phil Knight.

But he told the publication that he'd been increasingly speaking out about it this year, and would recount it in his upcoming book, "Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom."

Miller said that by coming forward, he could now freely speak to at-risk youth and prisoners and try discourage them from violence.

He had told Jordan, Silver, and several Nike executives within the past several months, he said.

Miller said that the people he had told had reacted positively to the news.

Nike CEO John Donohoe told Sports Illustrated: "Larry Miller has played an influential role in Nike history and is a beloved member of the Nike family.

"I hope his experience can create a healthy discourse around criminal justice reform, by helping remove the stigma that holds people and communities back," Donohoe said.

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