MYNORTHWEST NEWS

UW star basketball player is living her dream, looking toward the future

Apr 4, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: 12:36 pm

UW NIL...

Shot of Jayda Noble during warmups. (Photo courtesy of DKC and Jayda Noble)

(Photo courtesy of DKC and Jayda Noble)

Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark are two of the most popular student-athletes in the country, and are earning some very big endorsement deals. Their recognition is paving the way for other female athletes to earn money for their name, image and likeness (NIL), creating an opportunity for (some) college athletes to endorse big-name products and earn some cash before making it to the pros.

University of Washington (UW) basketball guard Jayda Noble is one of them. Originally from Spokane, she joined the Huskies in 2020.

“I met the girls (UW women’s basketball team), and the girls just did it for me,” Noble said. “I have a different coach than the coach I originally signed to, but what mattered to me was the people more than anything. And Seattle is an amazing location.”

Noble doesn’t hesitate to take crucial shots on the court. She scored a season-high 11 points in the win against Air Force and a new career high of 15 rebounds against Arizona State. She said she wanted to play basketball since the third grade.

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“Basically, my dad just started coaching me a little bit harder in high school, and then, I just realized I could get a scholarship from it,” Noble said. “I always just loved it so much.”

When she’s not draining 3-pointers, Noble is working on her other passion — art.

Two years ago, she started painting designs on shoes, t-shirts and jeans for her friends and sister. Noble even created a website that received so much attention, she was asked to design an athletic tennis shoe.

“You know Jewell Loyd on the Seattle Storm? She reached out and she had me design her next shoe,” Noble said.

She said that her goal is to gain more collaborations, like her work with Loyd.

NIL redefining what a student-athlete is

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) created an interim policy in 2021 allowing student-athletes to make money from their personal brand through their name, image and likeness (NIL).

As Noble grows on and off the court, she said she loves being an NIL athlete. She is currently a sponsor of JBL headphones and speakers, an opportunity she’s more than grateful for.

“Music just inspires me, as an artist and on the basketball court,” Noble said. “I’m sure other athletes can attest to that as well. I just feel really grateful. Having this partnership with JBL has been really pivotal for me. Music helps me. It’s not only the music I listen to, but how I listen to it.”

The NCAA has previously been heavily criticized for profiting off student-athletes — using their name, image and likeness in the process — while barring student-athletes from receiving any of the profits.

“I think that it just comes down to them not understanding what it’s like to be a student-athlete,” Noble said. “We really are professionals. In retrospect, it’s a business. Our coaches get paid so why not us?”

She believes NIL students are on their way to becoming paid professional athletes.

Setting the trend as an endorsed athlete

When Noble walks on or off the court, she’s not only representing UW, she’s representing JBL, too.

(Photo courtesy of DKC and Jayda Noble)

“It helps me think about how I present myself off the court more than anything,” Noble said.

Incoming freshman players ask her about what it’s like being an endorsed athlete, and she’s proud of the way they ask and their intentions.

“They’re just like, ‘What do they make you post?’ ‘How did you do this?’ ‘Did you look over your contract?’ Just really important questions,” Noble said. “I think that’s really cool to see them being so thoughtful about it.”

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When it comes to Noble’s future, she plans on going pro, but not here.

“I do eventually want to go overseas,” Noble said. “I think having that balance of art allows me to do that more overseas than in the WNBA. So that’s why I want to take that route.”

She’s more than proud to be an endorsed athlete. It means she gets to work her dream job and get paid to do it.

Despite the Washington Huskies struggling on the court this year, it continues to build support for women’s basketball and financial opportunities for the next generation of players — with Noble and others leading the way.

Contributing: Frank Sumrall, MyNorthwest

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here. 

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