“It was eating me up inside,” he said.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Larry Miller, chairman of the Jordan Brand, discussed the 1965 murder.
“It was eating me up inside,” he said of his actions at age 16, when he was “a straight-up gangbanger”.
Mr Miller was sentenced to prison for the crime. He claims not to have lied about it, but to have kept it a secret.
The revelation comes ahead of his memoir’s release next year.
Mr Miller said that he joined the Cedar Avenue gang in West Philadelphia when he was 13 years old, rapidly transitioning from “a straight-A student” to daily drinking.
Mr Miller, then 16, says that after a buddy was murdered by a rival gang member, he took a .38 pistol, got intoxicated with three pals, and went in quest of vengeance.
Rather than that, he shot into the chest of the first person they met on September 30, 1965: 18-year-old Edward White.
“That’s what makes it even more difficult for me, because it was for no reason at all,” he said.
Mr Miller said the choice to reveal his history – which he has long kept buried from his children, friends, and closest business colleagues – was “really difficult”.
“Because for years, I ran from this,” he told Sports Illustrated. “I tried to hide this and hope that people didn’t find out about it.”
Mr Miller joined Nike in 1997 and is now responsible for the day-to-day operations of Nike Basketball, the Jordan Brand, and Converse.
He is also a former executive of Kraft Foods and Campbell Soups, as well as a former president of the professional basketball club the Portland Trail Blazers.
He asserts that he never misled on employment applications regarding his jail sentence.
Mr Miller allegedly notified members of his inner circle about the event before to the interview, including basketball icon Michael Jordan and NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
His upcoming book, “Jump: My Secret Journey from the Streets to the Boardroom,” will describe the event, as well as his numerous stays in juvenile detention and jail for a range of offences.
Nike told BBC News in a statement that Mr Miller’s life was “an incredible story of second chances”.
“We are proud of Larry Miller and the hope and inspiration his story can offer,” the company said, adding that it supported policies that help former prisoners “open new doors of opportunity and move forward with their lives”.
Mr Miller expresses hope that his tale would help steer at-risk youngsters away from a life of crime and encourage previously imprisoned individuals to believe they can still contribute to society.
“A person’s mistake, or the worst mistake that they made in their life, shouldn’t control what happens with the rest of your life,” he said.
Image Credit: Getty