Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Larry Miller served a jail sentence for the murder in 1965

A long-time Nike executive in the US has revealed that he shot and killed a teenage boy in the streets of West Philadelphia 56 years ago.

Larry Miller, chairman of the popular Jordan Brand, confessed to the 1965 murder in an interview with Sports Illustrated published on Wednesday.

"It was eating me up inside," he said of his actions at age 16, when he was "a straight-up gangbanger".

The admission comes ahead of the launch of his memoir next year.

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Mr Miller said he had joined the Cedar Avenue gang in West Philadelphia at age 13, quickly changing from "a straight-A student" and drinking everyday.

When a friend was killed by a rival gang member, Mr Miller says, he grabbed a .38 handgun, got drunk with three friends and went in search of retribution.

Instead, on 30 September 1965, he fired into the chest of the first person they encountered: 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.

He served a jail sentence for the murder.

Mr Miller described the decision to come clean about his past – which he has long hidden from his children, friends and closest business associates – as "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 has been at Nike since 1997 and manages the daily operations of Nike Basketball, the Jordan Brand and Converse.

He is also a former executive at Kraft Foods and Campbell Soups, and an ex-president of the Portland Trail Blazers professional basketball team.

He says he never lied about his prison time in job applications.

Ahead of the interview, Mr Miller reportedly informed members of his inner circle, including basketball legend Michael Jordan and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, of the incident.

His forthcoming book "Jump: My Secret Journey from the Streets to the Boardroom" – written in collaboration with his oldest daughter – will detail the incident, as well as his multiple stints in juvenile detention and prison over a variety of offences.

He says he hopes his story can help steer at-risk youth away from a life of violence and inspire formerly incarcerated people to know they can still make a contribution 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.