Late Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller never made peace with unsettling childhood

by | May 03, 2010

Mormons We Know

As I began to interview Larry H. Miller for the book, we soon developed a routine. I usually showed up at his house late in the afternoon, and we would talk for two or three hours, then I would return to my home and write a chapter using the notes from the day's discussion. For some reason, I found myself doing much of the writing while sitting up in bed with my laptop from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. or so. Without fail, as I wrote, I made a long list of follow-up questions on a notepad next to my bed, and when I met with Larry a couple of days later, I would ask him questions that covered many of the same points we had discussed in our previous meeting, except now I wanted clarification or deeper answers or more detail.

"I see a pattern here," Larry said one day. "We talk about a certain subject, then you write and come back with more questions about that same thing and it gets me to talk more in depth about it. I like it. It forces me to think and to delve deeper into things."

This proved to be especially true in the matter of Larry's childhood. The more we talked about it, the more he seemed to explore it in a way he hadn't previously. There were several incidents in his youth — including twice being hauled from his home by police — that troubled him to the end of his life, even to the extent that he returned to visit with his childhood bishop in a futile attempt to understand them. He felt paralyzed and set adrift by his disconnected feelings at home. He believed these incidents shaped him and perhaps accounted for his driven nature to succeed.

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