Embracing an Imperfect Past

Larry Miller
Chairman of the Jordan Brand at Nike
Embracing an
Imperfect Past
Larry Miller
Chairman of Jordan Brand at Nike

Larry Miller’s life has taken endless turns. Now that he’s reached the top, Larry is helping uplift those still trapped at the bottom.

Today, Larry works at Nike as the Chairman of the Jordan Brand, one of the company’s most successful lines. From his seat in the boardroom, Larry is fighting for Fair Chance hiring so that justice-impacted individuals around the world can follow in his footsteps.

“I was in and out of jail by the time I was 12 and until I was 30,” recalled Larry. “At 16, I was arrested for homicide, and charged as an adult.”

Against the odds, Larry earned an associate’s degree during his time behind bars. In his valedictorian speech, he encouraged his fellow inmates to make the most of their sentences. “Let’s not serve time,” he said. “Let’s let time serve us.”

Fair Chance hiring not only benefits the people who receive the jobs, but it’s going to benefit the companies that are involved in it as well.

Larry went on to graduate from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. “When I left college, I expected that I would have the same opportunities as everyone else,” said Larry. “I realized early on that I wasn’t going to get them.”

“After graduation, I spent the day searching for jobs,” said Larry. “At my last interview, I decided to share my background with the man I was talking to.” After Larry opened up about his record, the man reached into his pocket and pulled out an offer letter. He told Larry that he wanted to give it to him, but he couldn’t take the risk. “From that moment on, I decided that I wasn’t going to reveal my history,” said Larry.

Larry’s secret weighed on him as he climbed the corporate ladder. “I had nightmares and headaches because I was so worried that it would come out,” he said. Even still, Larry thrived in the workplace. Slowly but surely, he made his way from an entry-level accountant at the Campbell Soup Company to the president of the Portland Trail Blazers to the chairman of Nike’s biggest brand—all with his secret still in tow.

After decades of living in fear, Larry finally shared his story in a book he published alongside his daughter called Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom. In a testament to the strength of the human spirit, the book recounts Larry’s remarkable journey from a childhood of crime to a career as one of the most successful Black businessmen in the country.

Despite leaving prison decades ago, it wasn’t until Larry revealed his past that he felt truly free. Now, with his eyes fixed on the future, he hopes to inspire others like him to pursue their full potential.