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Larry G. Miller

Larry G. Miller

Chairman, Jordan Brand Advisory Board, Nike; Author of Jump: My Secret Journey from the Streets to the Boardroom


For one of the most successful Black executives in the country, Larry Miller’s life seemed amazing. With his hard work, leadership skills and lots of smarts, he climbed the corporate ladder and had risen to the pinnacle of success — leading Nike’s Jordan Brand from a $150 million sneaker company to a $4 billion global apparel juggernaut. And yet for the past five-plus decades, he has also been haunted by a violent act he committed at just 16-years-old and the subsequent years he spent in prison — a fact that he kept secret after being turned down for a job because of his record. After suffering for years, he realized he couldn’t keep hiding his past any longer. The result is a new memoir he wrote with his daughter, Laila Lacy. Jump: My Secret Journey from the Streets to the Boardroom tells his story of redemption, fight for criminal justice reform and how plans to help other incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people successfully re-enter society. Read More >

Prison, itself, is what started Miller on the road to success. While there, he immersed himself in the educational opportunities, eventually took advantage of a state education-release program offered to incarcerated people and was able to graduate with honors from Temple University in 1982. He earned a master’s degree in business from LaSalle University in 1985 and graduated from the Urban League Leadership Institute in 1987.

Miller was named Chairman of the Jordan Brand Advisory Board in 2019, transitioning from his role as President of the Jordan Brand (his second tour with the brand). Previously, Miller served as President and Alternate Governor of the Portland Trail Blazers NBA franchise. As President of the Trail Blazers, he was responsible for all aspects of the organization’s business portfolio, including all team business and basketball activities, and the Rose Quarter. Under Miller’s guidance, the Trail Blazers made three consecutive trips to the postseason while selling out 159 straight games. Also under Miller’s leadership, the Trail Blazers became the first American sports franchise to achieve Gold LEED status for an existing arena, earned the 2009 PRISM award and consistently ranked in the top 20 for Portland Business Journal’s Most Philanthropic Companies.

Prior to joining the Trail Blazers, Miller served as Vice President and General Manager of Nike Basketball, where he was in charge of building strategies and executing plans that centered around Jordan Brand, Nike Basketball and Converse. He was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of Jordan Brand, where he earned an exceptional track record for growing the brand and setting the standard for athletic luxury footwear. His experience provided strong leadership for Nike’s global category growth in basketball.

Before joining Nike, Miller served as President, Executive Vice President and Controller for Jantzen, Inc. He has also served as a Manager for Kraft General Foods, Assistant Controller at Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. and held various positions with Campbell Soup.

Miller makes Portland his home, and currently serves on the President’s Council for Self Enhancement Inc. (“SEI”), the Oregon Business Council, Oregon Sports Authority and is a member of the Portland Mayor’s Economic Development Cabinet. He is a passionate advocate for education and mentorship and was previously involved with the Urban League and Junior Achievement. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Temple 2019 Graduation Ceremony

Speech Topics

Jump: My Secret Journey from the Streets to the Boardroom

For more than 50 years, Larry Miller, Chairman, Jordan Brand Advisory Board for Nike, led two lives: a highly successful Black corporate executive who worked at a number of Fortune 500 companies and a former gang member who served multiple prison sentences, including a stint for the murder of an 18-year-old. Drawing on his powerful new memoir, Miller weaves together stories about growing up in a devoted and tight-knit family in Philadelphia, the routine violence and drugs he struggled to overcome in order to achieve the redemption he sought and his journey from the prison yard to the C-suite — where he worked with the likes of Phil Knight, Michael Jordan and elite athletes and coaches from all sports. The talk is also a passionate appeal for criminal justice reform and expanded educational opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people across the United States. Today, many of the programs that allowed him to change his life are no longer available. This deeply personal keynote offers a master class in surviving our past, chasing dreams and, of course, sneakers.

The Critical Components of Leadership

When it comes to leadership, Larry Miller has hit nothing but net every time. As a top executive for Nike, he drove the Jordan Brand to new dimensions, taking the $150 million shoe company to a $4 billion athletic footwear and apparel brand company that connects deeply with consumers and communities. As the president of the Portland Trail Blazers, he garnered international respect for his reputation of being an inspirational leader who understands how to build premium businesses in the world of sport. In fact, he has been a successful leader in every position he’s had. In this talk, Miller shares the important aspects of leadership, including why it’s critical to allow people to do their jobs and support them along the way and why engaging with community matters. If you are a leader who wants to improve company culture, advance your community, as well as the bottom line, this talk is for you.

Basketball, Business & Branding

What’s the secret to building a brand that everyone adores — one that connects deeply with consumers and communities alike? For Larry Miller, Chairman of the Jordan Brand Advisory Board for Nike, it comes down to three traits. In this keynote, Miller takes you inside the world of athletic sportswear and how he helped create the Jordan Brand—taking the $150 million shoe company to a $4 billion athletic footwear and apparel brand company. You’ll learn why courage, creativity and passion are needed to be successful and how if you apply all three there’s nothing you can’t accomplish, no matter what field you’re in.

Why Mentoring Matters

If there is one quote that describes Larry Miller’s philosophy on life, it’s from the great Winston Churchill. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Not only does the Chairman of the Jordan Brand Advisory Board for Nike love this quote, but he also tries to live it every day. In this keynote, Miller shares his passion for mentoring others as one of the ways you can give back and why it’s so important to help others in their journeys to success. He’ll share the key steps you need to take to get started, what makes a great mentor and why now is the time to “Just do it.”

The Fundamentals of Success

In basketball, the way a player pivots can determine the outcome of the game. The same holds true in life. Just ask Larry Miller, the Chairman of the Jordan Brand Advisory Board for Nike. Throughout his career and life, he’s learned to pivot when things don’t go as planned, and it’s paid off. A former gang member who served multiple prison sentences, including a stint for the murder of an 18-year-old, Miller was determined to change his fortune. He’s done just that, working for a number of Fortune 500 companies and leading the Portland Trail Blazers and Nike’s Jordan Brand to record-breaking heights. And most recently, the decision he made to talk and write about his shadowy past — a secret he kept for over 50 years. In this keynote, Miller shares his story of redemption and success, why it’s so critical to pivot, how you can use this skill in business and life, and the mindset you need to get started—all the fundamentals that lead to a better future.