Fly or Fail? The return of the NBA

Pippen may have never surpassed MJ on the court, but he's definitely a better dresser. Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images

The NBA might just be heading back to training camp, but the "scene" has no offseason. This week, we put our style spotlight on some of the league's biggest stars -- including the GOAT -- to separate the Fly guys from the Fail gang.

Athlete: Iman Shumpert, Knicks

Event: "A Year In A New York Minute" photo exhibition, NYC, Sept. 26

Outfit: Goodbye 2012, hello 1990! If I didn’t know any better I would’ve thought Shumpert just stepped out of the movie "House Party." Call me crazy -- I might even call myself crazy -- but I’m into Shumpert’s flat-top and gold chain. Maybe it’s the ’90’s kid in me that brings back some nostalgia, but I think this look works for him. Or maybe it’s the slim cut of the shirt that makes him look modern and cool. What does throw me off is the matching shirt-and-shoe combo; the baby blue is a bit overbearing. But when it comes down to it, Shump is original and is simply expressing his personality.

Verdict: Kid ’n Play FLY.

Athletes: Gilbert Arenas, Grizzlies, and Chris Paul, Clippers

Event: GQ October Cover Party with Chris Paul & Hennessy, Sayers Club, L.A., Sept. 24

Outfit: We have two different looks going here, but they are equally successful. Paul keeps to his sartorial roots and celebrates his October GQ cover by rocking a double-breasted suit. Take note: This is how a double-breasted suit should be worn. The shorter cut of the blazer, in addition to the slim tailoring and shorter lapel length, creates a modern silhouette. I like the choice of the plaid shirt to give the look a less conservative vibe, perfect for a party. I’m usually one who says less is more, especially when it comes to accessories, but the gray tie and lapel pin mesh well together, and the glasses aren’t overbearing.

Gilbert’s look has more of a music vibe, channeling the likes of Kanye or Theophilus London. You can always expect to see athlete style inspired by what you see going on in the music industry. Arenas' motorcycle jacket is definitely party-appropriate, while the fit and proportion are on point. The same goes for the T-shirt and black jeans. I like how he keeps his look monochromatic and makes the motorcycle jacket the statement piece.

Verdict: Arenas: Moto FLY; Paul: GQ FLY.

Athlete: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks

Event: "A Year In A New York Minute" photo exhibition, NYC, Sept. 26

Outfit: Melo also came out last week to support fellow teammate and fashionista Tyson Chandler on his new photo exhibit. I like Melo, and I’m a Knicks fan, so it pains me a bit to have to dis this look. He’s rocking Givenchy (the cool kids' brand of choice this season), but there is something about the horizontal stripe on the polo shirt that gives it a schoolboy feel that just doesn’t seem masculine. This print is definitely more successful as a crewneck sweatshirt, and has also been seen recently on Victor Cruz and rapper Meek Mill. I’m also not digging the cropped pant on Melo; he’s too tall and the length hits at an awkward place right above his sneaker. I think he’d actually be better off with a baggier and longer pant! And lastly ... you’re on the red carpet and it’s nighttime; please take off the shades. They are dope shades, but seriously.

Verdict: High Fashion FAIL.

Athlete: Steve Nash, Lakers

Event: Launch of Time Warner Cable SportsNet in El Segundo, Calif., Oct. 1

Outfit: As a New Yorker, I have a soft spot in my heart for Steve Nash. He still spends his offseasons here, where you can find him hanging on the Lower East Side or playing soccer in the same neighborhood. He's always had a hipster vibe to him, and this plaid shirt is a clear demonstration of that. I don't hate his outfit -- I like the turquoise/teal color, the fit and proportion are on point, the pants are slim and the neutral khaki doesn't fight with the shirt color and pattern. (I don't dig a wide cuff roll, but I'll let it slide.) I'm also liking his shorter (and sleeker) hair. My only real criticism is that he looks great for hanging out on a Saturday, not walking a red-carpet event. Guess the casual L.A. vibe has already rubbed off on him.

Verdict: Best Coast FLY.

Athlete: Michael Jordan, Bobcats owner

Game: Feherty Live from The Ryder Cup, Downers Grove, Ill., Sept. 24

Outfit: Ugh, MJ. You KILL me. As I write this I can’t help but shake my head back and forth, muttering ... "Why?" I will never understand Michael Jordan’s style choices -- all they do is just leave me in a state of confusion. Jordan is the greatest basketball player who has ever lived; I don’t understand why he constantly wears outdated, oversized, washed-out and just straight-up ugly clothes. I have nothing positive to say, so just take a tip from me and idolize Jordan as a basketball player (and shoe magnate), not as a style icon.

Verdict: Don't Be Like Mike FAIL.