Eight months after the NBA told its players to start dressing up for work, GQ’s Style Guy, Glenn O’Brien, sounds off on who made the cut, who deserves to be benched, and whose style is just plain foul.


Last fall, a year after the Pacers-Pistons melee, the NBA adopted an off-court "business casual" dress policy. No more chains and medallions, and no more indoor sunglasses. Banned were shorts (even in Miami), T-shirts (holy Armani!), headphones, and headgear of any kind, except "event-appropriate" hats. The league was determined to lose its increasingly gangsta fashion image before its benches looked more NWA than NBA. Would guys in suits be less likely to run amok in the stands? Good question. I remember thinking back in '93, when a Knicks-Suns brawl led to more than $160,000 in fines, that maybe it wouldn’t have happened if Greg Anthony hadn't been wearing that bugged-out polka-dot shirt. The horror! So now, after one full season under the new code, how's it flowing? Here’s a look at the league's business-chill flavor, from the wack to the shiznit.

See May's issue of GQ for the full 10.

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL: LARGE AND IN CHARGE
Superman’s taste is eclectic, from traditional suits of quality to big-and-tall avant-garde. Most big men can’t carry off the high-closing vest, but Shaq, who has an eye for shirts and ties, makes it work, and he sports fedoras, derbies, and other headgear with élan.

GQ digs the look, minus the sneakers.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
TIM DUNCAN: HELP WANTED
Duncan is a peerless player and a heck of a guy, but nobody’s perfect. I wouldn’t give up on him, though—the dude didn’t pick up a basketball until ninth grade, and look at him now. Well, maybe not right now. Here he is in Andre the Giant’s shirt and jeans that somebody made artificially wrinkled and greasy looking. Tim, you have three stylish cats on your team—Tony P., Horry, Ginobili. Get them to take you shopping.

ALLEN IVERSON: THE ILLUSTRATED PLAYA
An inspiration for and early opponent of the dress code, the magnetic A.I. is making the best of it with suits as colorful as the throwback jerseys he used to sport. In an electric blue frockzilla suit with contrasting velvet lapels, post-Oxford baggy pants, and a Gucci man-purse, he looks like he’s taking care of business neodandily. And yes, he’s doing so without a do-rag.

KOBE BRYANT: HE WON’T PASS (A MIRROR)
The Ty Cobb of basketball, Kobe dresses befitting the great star he considers himself, wearing luxury items with panache—plush shearling, velvet, and suede, and bold shirts. He has the rich-casual look down, as he should, having grown up in Italy and living now in Los Angeles. But L.A. doesn’t get dressy, and it shows here with his blousy, Trump-esque dress shirt with sneaks. MJ would have never.

LEBRON JAMES: KING JAMES VERSION
LeBron is a fashion-forward forward who sports some of the best off-court looks in the game: plaid sport jackets that the natty legend Walt Frazier would wear, a military-style blazer with epaulets, an Irish-fisherman’s cardigan, luxurious suedes, conservative chalk-striped suits with spread-collar shirts. The man obviously loves clothes.