He also enjoyed putting together creative deals to finance his businesses, and, as his purchase of the Jazz demonstrated, he was masterful at it. He lamented later in his life that his business transactions weren't nearly as fun anymore because his reputation and bank account made them so easy and straightforward. When trying to put together 11th-hour financing for his first purchase of half of the Jazz franchise, he crashed a meeting of bankers and told them, "Fellas, I don't want to run your meeting, but I'm going to tell you something. I got my first telephone in my name when I was 12 years old because I was on the phone all the time. My parents had to sign for it, but I had to pay the bill. Since that time, I've been paying bills, and I've never missed a payment on anything in my life. If you can find a delinquent payment, turn me down. If you can't, make this loan."
They made the loan.
Miller liked to call himself a "bridge-builder," a man who could get things done in the community, often as a third party. He resisted the lure of political office because he believed he was much more effective as an independent, bipartisan citizen, albeit one with many high-level friends and connections.
He donated $50 million to build the Salt Lake Community College campus, and, as he was wont to do, was involved in many of the details of the project. He also paid for BYU's baseball and softball complex, the scoreboard at the University of Utah and a chair in the school's English department.
Through it all, Miller, a demanding, hard-working, tough businessman, was a soft touch. He was famous for his tears, which were shed at almost every press conference he ever held, whether it was Karl Malone's latest contract or completion of the Delta Center. He was compassionate and sensitive, and loved to collect art. Statues surrounded his hillside mansion, and the walls of his home were covered with original paintings.
Miller's influence touched nearly everyone in his home state, whether it was through the car dealerships that lined State Street, or his movie theaters, or his pet TV projects (the Joseph Smith Papers), or his professional baseball and basketball teams, or his TV and radio stations, and so forth. Even Miller, in his reverie later in life, couldn't help notice his was an extraordinary life.
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