New Orleans Pelicans reserve Larry Nance Jr. used to avoid all off-court business talk. Now he is one of the most active investors in the NBA community. The 31-year-old reserve turned community activist joined the Sporticast podcast to detail a few of his most recent ventures. The Wyoming alum was also honest about which sport captured his heart and which one is used to cash checks.

Nance Jr. is invaluable to the Pelicans on the court and in the locker room. However, the 31-year-old “wasn’t even open to considering” off-court opportunities initially. The Ohio native opened the podcast by explaining why it took a few years to learn the value of using off-court investments.

“One of the first things to understand about the majority of us is that four-year college guys are few and far between,” Nance Jr. shared. “Very few of us have degrees. Very few of us majored in something other than basketball when we went to school. I think from that perspective guys like me and (CJ McCollum) or Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, those Villanova guys, enjoy the business side of basketball. It's pretty rare now with the one-and-dones. A lot of guys hire people to do it for them.”

“The numbers are growing because we are trying to educate them,” continued Nance Jr. “It's gotten better. Early in my career, it was rough but it's gotten better where guys engaging more and are interested.”

Larry Nance Jr.'s low-risk strategy Leeds to passion project

New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. (22) dunks during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum.
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Nance Jr. wasted no time in building a portfolio once the value was understood. Now he balances a conservative money management strategy with a handful of higher-risk, higher-reward investments including EPL soccer club Leeds United and apparel company Legends.

“Early in my career in L.A. I wasn't open to (investing), wasn't even considering it. I'm just going to keep the money I get and that will be great,” Nance Jr. joked. “Around 25, 26 for me, I just blinked and three years of my career was over. I had to start to consider some of this stuff. As athletes, we get opportunities thrown at us, like a ridiculous amount.”

Sometimes it was a clothing brand, sometimes it was just someone who spotted Nance Jr. at lunch and wanted to pitch their idea. Some players even pitch other players, which is how Nance Jr. wound up owning a piece of England's most historic football clubs. TJ McConnell roped Nance Jr. in and it was an easy sell. The purchase of Leeds United was made thanks to a prudent investment strategy.

“The majority is very low risk but I've got free reign to be more aggressive by putting part of my check away,” explained Nance Jr. “It's relationships that make me comfortable going in on an investment. Another thing I've learned is money follows money.  It's a rich-get-richer system, which benefits me for the moment. I got a dec and the investors were Lebron James, Drake, and Apple. I didn't need to see much more there.”

“So Leeds. Is it an investment? Yes, but it is so much more than an investment for me,” Nance Jr. admitted. “Like, I play basketball but my favorite sport and favorite thing to do is watch soccer. Year around, I like being involved in soccer so Leeds is a passion project for me. Even if the group I'm with sells out, I want to stay in. I want to be there for good. I want to be part of the ownership team, part of that community, part of that fandom forever. It's been the joy of my career, truly…I had a chance to invest in other clubs but none felt like Leeds…Again, I play basketball. I love soccer.”

Pelicans hearing out Larry Nance Jr.'s investment ideas

Nance Jr. even pitched CJ McCollum on a few ideas this season.

“You’ve got to keep in mind, I spend more time with my teammates than I do my family in-season,” Nance Jr. said. “So I know what everybody likes to do, what everyone’s interests are.”

Passive income and dividend checks are not Nance Jr.'s only investment interest. The Larry Nance Jr. Zero Hunger Challenge was created with $50,000 in seed money to help combat food insecurities in the local community. Local high schoolers were charged with inventing new ways to address the root cause of food insecurities in the Gulf South region.

The groups will present their ideas on March 3 and the winning group will win the seed money.  Swin Cash (Pelicans VP Basketball Operations & Team Development), Dr. Darvelle Hutchins (Pelicans VP Equity & Social Impact), Nance Jr., and other regional and league-affiliated stakeholders will serve as judges.

Nance Jr.'s Zero Hunger Challenge is just getting started. The venture has also teamed up with Eternal Seeds, a nonprofit founded by local artist Brandan “BMike” Odums. Odums was last spotted supervising some Pelicans players helping to complete a Black History Month mural titled “I Am Because We Are.” The artwork is headed to auction and all proceeds are to be donated to supporting Eternal Seeds, the Zero Hunger Challenge initiative, and McCollum's New Orleans-based College Beyond scholarship venture.

Nance Jr. and McCollum still have some on-court business to attend to for a few more months. They can rest easy in between games knowing that they, and their communities, will have something to fall back on once the playing days are done.