Just as there are unwritten sports rules like don't run up the score or show up an opponent, there are a few things every athlete needs to remember while in the locker room, too.
While these might not be discussed at the beginning of every season or when a team makes a trade to bring in a new guy, they're expected to be understood, as they're a part of being a pro athlete—or so they should be.
Unfortunately, players have broken some guy codes before, with these being the worst offenders.
10. Never Talk About Another Man's Wife
Trash-talking an opponent is a technique that has gone back centuries, with players doing almost anything they can to get inside another person's head to throw them off their game.
And while there are a lot of swear words and insults that are tossed back and forth, it's usually understood that a guy's family is off-limits.
It's too bad legendary trash-talker Kevin Garnett allegedly didn't play by that rule in 2013, though, as he reportedly talked about Carmelo Anthony's wife during a game, according to BlackSportsOnline (via the New York Daily News), causing Melo to hunt down KG afterward, waiting for him by the Boston Celtics' team bus.
Garnett appeared to cross the imaginary line on this one, which is never cool.
9. Don't Undermine a Coach
There have been plenty of athletes who have done this before, but we all know who I'm talking about in this instance—LeBron James.
Sure, James has earned the right to speak his opinions and give his advice to the Cleveland Cavs for all he's accomplished in his career and as the polarizing figure he is, but, let's not try to kid ourselves, it certainly seems like he had a role in getting former head coach David Blatt canned—even if there's no way of ever actually proving it.
Blatt, who took the Cavs to the NBA Finals last season and was sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 30-11 record at the time of his firing this season, deserved better. For LeBron, it doesn't help that a Miami Heat minority owner said he had tried to get Erik Spoelstra fired when he was with the Heat, basketball writer David Pick reported (via Nick Martin of the Washington Post).
8. Never Talk About Another Man's Contract
We all know that plenty of teams have been victims of giving a player too much money and then getting burned by that player after the big payday. And while that sucks for the team and fans, it's not something any player should ever talk about.
Point blank, what a guy's earning is only his concern, not anyone else's concern or opinion. So when a player does open up about someone else's contract, it crosses a line that becomes personal and will absolutely cause drama between all parties involved.
Whether they're on the same team or not, this is always a bad look.
7. Never Hit a Man Below the Belt
There are a lot of things athletes need to worry about—especially when it comes to staying healthy—but one thing should not be another player hitting them in the region where the sun don't shine.
Hitting a guy below the belt can cause some serious damage—just ask Manu Ginobili who actually missed significant time after it accidentally happened to him—so regardless of intention, it's inherently a low blow.
6. Don't Rack Up Debts
I'll be the first to admit gambling can be bad, but let's not be naive here. Athletes are known to do it a lot.
Since teams aren't going to stop their players from playing cards or other games that see them toss down serious cash, the only thing an organization can ask is that players never let things get too out of control—you know, which might cause tension.
It's too bad a few athletes haven't followed that blueprint, though, as some have racked up serious debt with a teammate that turns into a black cloud over the entire squad.
Have fun, guys, but own up to your losses.
5. Never Completely Trash Your Franchise, Star Player and Head Coach
Athletes have every right to talk to the media about their own business and other things that pop into their minds, but they should never just blatantly talk crap about, you know, their employer, boss and/or co-workers.
A few guys have done this before, trying to prove they're the alpha dog or something, I suppose.
It's not a good idea, though, as it can turn everyone against him and possibly cost that player his job for being way too outspoken.
4. Don't Throw Your Current Teammates Under the Bus
Once again, LeBron James finds himself on this list for breaking guy code, as he has appeared to throw his current Cleveland Cavs teammates under the bus numerous times.
As naturally great as James is at PR, he has had some huge hiccups since returning to Cleveland in the past couple of years, first tweeting about Kevin Love last season, then cryptically tweeting someone—presumed to be Kyrie Irving—this year and, finally, posting something about playing with his good friends Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.
LeBron's move was both disrespectful and ill-timed, as his Cavs are chasing an NBA title as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
3. Never Secretly Tape a Teammate
Oh, D'Angelo Russell, you dirty dog, you.
While any rookie campaign is full of learning curves, they're supposed to be on the basketball court, not about recording a teammate who's talking about how he—in this case Nick Young—cheated on his fiance.
Russell broke a serious rule by recording a video of Swaggy P doing just that, though, not only causing a rift in the Los Angeles Lakers' locker room, according to ESPN's Baxter Holmes and Marc Stein, but also potentially leading to a lawsuit, too, according to TMZ Sports.
You should be better than that, D!
2. Never Talk Publicly About What Happens Inside the Locker Room
All of us who have ever played sports understand that a team is like a family, where issues arise because of different personalities and egos, but in the end, it's all about a common goal and coexisting.
Just like a family who doesn't like to let their dirty laundry be seen by everyone, a team should keep certain things private—and that means refusing to let locker-room issues leak out to the media.
There will always be sources who talk about things, but when a player becomes one of those sources, that's when the guy code is officially broken.
1. Never Get Involved with a Teammate's Wife
I mean, really, do I have to add this one on here? One wouldn't think so, but, sadly, after some previous rumors and/or allegations, there have been a number of athletes who have gotten involved with their teammate's wives or girlfriends.
The most recent instance I can think of came in a Danish soccer league where the team captain for Randers FC, Christian Keller, actually started dating teammate Jonas Borring's estranged wife, causing Borring to leave the team.
Of course, from Tony Parker's alleged texting relationship with Brent Barry's wife, as Cristina Everett of the New York Daily News detailed, to Karl Malone allegedly making a pass at Kobe Bryant's wife while they played together, according to Bryant's agent (via ESPN.com), every athlete needs to remember significant others are always off-limits.