NFL player LeSean McCoy wants to build a real estate empire using opportunity zones

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    LeSean McCoy (25) of the Buccaneers runs the ball during the regular season game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 13, 2020 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.Cliff Welch | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

    National Football League running back LeSean McCoy admitted he had no clue how to handle finances earlier in his career. McCoy didn’t know how to make money from his large NFL paychecks, and saving wasn’t an option, either.

    “Now being in my 12th year in the league, looking at all the investments I’ve made from the good to the bad, I think I’ve learned,” McCoy told CNBC.

    It’s National Financial Literacy Month, and McCoy says he’s more motivated to further “generate finances not only for myself but also for my family.”

    Months after getting his second Super Bowl ring, as McCoy was on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster, the 32-year-old player is using the offseason downtime to finish real estate developments. McCoy and his brother LeRon operate real estate firm Vice Capital. With McCoy’s playing days almost over, he’s using the real estate investment route to continue building wealth post-NFL.

    “We’re still starting up, but that is the main goal,” said LeSean. He added another mission is to help NFL players learn “how to make money other than just playing football.”

    Using the Opportunity Zones

    Vice Capital invests in distressed properties in lower-income communities, renovating buildings to create new housing units and commercial space.

    The McCoy brothers use opportunity zones to develop some properties. The areas were created as part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and provide developers capital gains tax incentives. They’re designed to direct investment to under-developed sections of cities and help increase neighborhood values without triggering a rise in rent that would drive residents out of the rebuilt communities.

    LeSean’s brother told him about the zones in 2017. But LeSean said he was skeptical when he learned the legislation was passed under President Donald Trump’s administration. “Who is this really for?” he asked his brother.

    Before it became official, the legislation was supported by U.S. senators including Sen. Cory Booker, (D-NJ) and