Jordan Brand's Chair Is Ready to Share What Happened in '65

Before Larry Miller's amazing career came a murder, prison time
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2021 8:00 AM CDT
Jordan Brand's Chairman Is Ready to Tell His Secret
Sample Air Jordan 1s worn by Michael Jordan in 1985 are presented by a person during Sotheby's preview in Geneva, Switzerland, in April 2021.   (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

During a job interview with accounting giant Arthur Andersen some 40 years ago, Larry Miller was upfront about his past: as a 16-year-old gang member in Philly, he shot dead another teenager and went to prison for it. The interviewer's response: "I had an offer here all ready to give to you, but I can’t give it to you now. I can’t take the chance that somehow this blows back." Miller, now 72, says that was the moment he decided to bury the secret and not speak of it again—which he didn't. Not, for decades, to his children, and not to the companies he has worked for and led. Miller, who served as president of the Portland Trail Blazers, is now the chair of Nike's Jordan Brand. But Miller is talking now, in an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated ahead of the publication of his book, Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom.

While he details the 1965 crime, Howard Beck writes that Miller "demurred on discussing his experiences being incarcerated or much of what came after, saying he addresses that in his book." But he is clear on his intention: "It's really about making sure that people understand that formerly incarcerated people can make a contribution." Beck's piece is full of tidbits, from Miller's assertion that he managed to have a meteoric career without lying in a job interview (he recounts landing a job at Campbell's, and how the application asked about convictions within the last five years) to his fears about submitting to a background check in order to have dinner with then-President Clinton. (Read the full story for much more.)

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