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Lazar Hayward Channeling His Creativity Through His Clothing Brand, Nobel

Growing up, Lazar Hayward remembers being drawn to brands like Iceberg. Seeing the rock sneakers of Nas, Raekwon and Jay-Z and the knitted sweaters with Snoopy, Mickey Mouse and Popeye seemed too easy to be hip-hop. He would go with his dad on weekend trips to the city where they would go around NYC’s fashion district and fill more than five hockey bags with pieces and flip them over to his dad’s flea market booths. When she wanted to do something complicated, she would go into her father’s closet and grab one of his many silk shirts. Red, brown, white, navy, black; a collection of suitable primary colors lies in Hayward’s hands.

“I would take all these joints, sneak them in my book bag and he would get mad,” Hayward said with a laugh.

Mixing his streetwear roots with high-end aesthetics has become the foundation of Hayward’s 2020-founded clothing brand, Nobel. Now, Hayward finds himself on the other side of the coin. Last year, Nobel’s exclusive Las Vegas Summer League shorts went on sale. Since then, everyone from current NBA players to the NBPA have been hitting him up in hopes of scoring.

Following a four-year career at Marquette, was selected All-Big East in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft, and charted a seven-year career between the L and G-League. After quietly walking away from the professional basket, Hayward began looking for another place to show off.

“And I was like, fashion. I don’t have to put my name on it, I don’t care about putting my face on it,” Hayward told SLAM. “Nobel, I chose that name for a reason because there was a lot going on and I just thought that, being a Nobel even though there are a lot of things that happen to you in your life, you are still doing well. I needed constant reminders, that’s why Nobel came in.”

When Hayward launched the brand four years ago, he had a vision for clothing that told stories by reviving the power of the street with an understated aesthetic. He refers to everything from Chanel to the way we put pictures in our magazine as ideas for his inspiration.

Steeped in Hayward’s love of Roman numerals and classical architecture, Nobel captures an elegant edge with distorted floral motifs and vintage details. From bold colors and pastel palettes to aesthetics and refined angles, Hawyard has designed his own brand of beauty using Nobel.

As Hayward worked tirelessly in the early stages of product development, the NBPA took notice, inviting the inventor to join the Union’s Players Accelerator Program. Throughout the 2020 pilot launch, Hayward participated in all the workshops and panels he could be a part of. His continued dedication has led to continued collaboration within the program.

For the past two years, Nobel has been working with the Players Association in the Las Vegas Summer League. In 2022, Hayward cooked up special tickets for the event with Roman numerals showing the year of the NBPA’s founding-1954. Next to the different products of the NBPA members last year, Nobel returned to Las Vegas where their brand sold an updated crop of designs in the PA’s first pop-up sales experience.

“Everything has to do with me, everything. I really stand by that. No matter how long it takes, even the money, the business, all of that, I want it to be a living thing,” Hayward told SLAM.

The latest in a series of exposures continued this All-Star weekend when we teamed up with Hayward and Nobel on a collaborative series of solid tees, bringing together the undying love of our two brands and their intersection with fashion. Reflecting the success of the NBPA pop-up in Vegas, two of the three pieces inside the cap were sold by the end of Saturday. Don’t worry, we still have sizes left in this off-white tee.

Since moving away from the hardwood to the realm of his imagination, Lazar Hayward has carved out a unique artistic path to roam free. His journey, like many other players, has become a blueprint for the current generation of future entrepreneurs to analyze. He sends fiber packages to the League’s brightest stars, studies fabrics deep in LA factories, collaborates with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves (keep your eyes peeled) and sells emergency properties. Even though he hasn’t gotten his hands on the sold-out shorts at Summer League in 2023, he’ll be returning to Vegas this summer with a new collection.

“I’ll get me some more this time,” laughed Hayward.

Photos by Lazar Hayward.

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