Nike executive Larry Miller hid his criminal past from colleagues for over 50 years until he revealed in a new book about his life that he once killed another man, Edward David White, when he was teenager in 1965.
Now a 72-year-old chairman of Michael Jordan’s brand of Nike shoes, Miller was also a former president of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team and a previous vice president of Nike Basketball.
As a 16-year-old gang member in Philadelphia, however, Larry Miller went out drunk one night and killed Edward David White, 18. White was unarmed, unprovoked, and unknown to Miller at the time. He plead guilty to second-degree murder and served four and a half years in prison.
Later, he said that he was intoxicated, angry, and felt like killing the first person he saw that night. He served an additional five years after for a string of armed robberies until he rehabilitated and built a life as a sports marketer.
Released on Tuesday, his new book called Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom, states that he hopes his story can prove that correctional facilities committed to providing rehabilitation services for their inmates can lead to redemption.
“Once I got into [education reform in prison], I really started to believe that maybe I really can change my life through this process,” Larry Miller recalled. “Maybe this is not just a way to get out of jail, but actually a way to really change my life and do something positive and constructive going forward.”
By the age of 30, he was a Temple University graduate. He made the decision to hide his incarceration record, and he got hired by Nike in 1997. Until coming forward last October with the announcement of his new book in Sports Illustrated, even close friends and business associates such as Michael Jordan and Phil Knight had no knowledge of Miller’s criminal past.
“I kind of felt like a burden was lifted as I was sharing more and getting more out,” he told PEOPLE. “The more I started to have these nightmares and migraines, it was just like, ‘You know what, I got to get this out.'”
Though the process may have been therapeutic for Larry Miller, wounds were reopened for surviving family members of Edward David White, who were bothered that the teenager’s name was not mentioned once in Miller’s new book.
Agreeing to meet with Larry Miller in Philadelphia, the family of the deceased met with Edward David White’s killer for the first time since 1965. Until they read an article in the paper about Miller’s latest memoir, they had no idea that a book was being written about White’s murder. They were never contacted for quotes and said in a New York Times article that they felt “blindsided.”
“I’m sorry that we didn’t — we weren’t able to connect with them before this became public,” he told PEOPLE, wishing that he could “go back and undo it.”
“I wanted to meet with them and knew I needed to, but I was nervous and anxious about it,” he recalled. “We had started to try to connect with them and locate them and The New York Times kind of beat us to it.”
Meeting with Edward David White’s sister, 84-year-old Barbara Mack, she read a letter to him about her brother’s life back in 1965, detailing that White had a twin sister, a young son, and a baby on the way. She said he worked at a diner and recalled how he had impeccable style.
In the emotional meeting, Miller was reportedly very remorseful and apologized several times throughout the reading of the letter. After Larry Miller asked for her forgiveness, Barbara Mack told him that after 57 years, “if I didn’t forgive him, God wouldn’t forgive me.”
According to People, Larry Miller is trying to reconnect with the family to do something in Edward David White’s honor, including conversations about adding his name to the book.
He held a second meeting with family members this past December, but Barbara Mack did not attend. She told reporters: “I don’t have to see him anymore.”