Luol Deng. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Luol Deng has made $151 million playing basketball during his 15-year NBA career. All the while, he's been investing in real estate, amassing an impressive portfolio worth $125 million.

Why it matters: "Real estate might not be as sexy or generate the headlines of athletes pouring money into tech startups, but the potential returns can be much more lucrative," writes Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen.

  • "[And] the new 2017 tax law raises that threshold even higher with the creation of Opportunity Zones ... [which] allow investors to plow recent capital gains into projects or companies in low-income areas in each state."

How it works: There are nearly 9,000 "O-zone" areas across the country, which are required to have a poverty rate of 20% or higher or a median household income that is less than 80% of the surrounding area.

  • "Gains compound tax-free, and there are no limits on how much money you put in and how much tax you can avoid," writes Badenhausen.
  • "Deng and at least a half-dozen NBA stars are part of Our Opportunity, which is a new O-zone fund seeking to raise $300 million this year."

Go deeper: Sports stars dive into tech investing

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