What style of non cycling shorts are best for cycling? Basketball shorts, board shorts, running shorts, nylon walking shorts, etc? I ask because I usually wear mesh basketball shorts, however they flap around too much for my liking. So what are your guys' opinion because I do not feel like spending $40+ on a pair of bicycle shorts.
If the cost is really your concern, just buy a $20 pair of Nashbar bike shorts. They're certainly not the best, but I have a pair that I've used for a couple thousand miles and they're still doing alright.
Otherwise, I don't know that there's one particular type of shorts that works better than others; you might want to look at individual pairs. I would avoid anything that has a really pronounced seam in the crotch (as jeans sometimes do), and I'd try to pick something that wicks, and a zippered or velcroed pocket would be a plus.
Speedo, Nike, Tyr, Dolphin, and others sell "Jammers." Look just like bike shorts but with less rise, no grippers in the legs, an extra 'privacy' layer of fabric in front, and no pad. Watch out, some brands may have a non-flat seam in the wrong spot, but hey - you didn't want bike shorts!
Since I ride recumbents and don't need the pad, I usually wear lycra running shorts.