athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
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43.6k votes 6.3k voters 72.3k views 136 items

List Rules Only athletes who are among the most debated in sports.

A list of athletes who are passionately loved and hated by sports fans. These divisive, controversial sports stars inspire both love and bile from the fan community in equal measure. Is Allen Iverson among the greatest players of his day, or an arrogant ball hog? Does Tim Tebow keep pulling out these miraculous victories because of innate ability, or is he coasting off the skill and tenacity of his teammates? Is Barry Bonds a stoic hero, or the ultimate baseball villain?

These questions and more have divided sports fans and caused more bar room arguments, than any political decision in recent memory. And with good cause. This list collects the most argued-about and widely discussed figures from the world of sports. Vote for the players you love to hate (or hate to love), and if we've missed any athletes that make you bicker with your friends over beers, be sure to suggest them at the bottom of the page.

Who are the most controversial athletes? Vote on the person you think fits that bill when ranking this list.
list ordered by

1
1,855 903
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
LeBron James Athlete, Television producer, Voice acting

2
1,461 851
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Michael Jordan Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur

3
1,385 614
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Lionel Messi Footballer, Football player

4
1,225 764
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added Tom Brady American football player

5
1,085 688
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Kobe Bryant Athlete, Basketball player

6
806 720
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tiger Woods Writer, Athlete, Golfer

7
778 656
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Michael Vick American football player, Spokesperson

8
807 568
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
darren-bell added Diego Maradona Footballer, Football player, Manager

9
1,256 1,154
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tim Tebow Athlete, American football player

10
664 459
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mike Tyson Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

11
643 333
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Cristiano Ronaldo Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

12
665 584
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Rose Baseball player

13
682 468
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Muhammad Ali Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

14
631 600
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Lance Armstrong Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

Athletes with the Most Annoying Fans

15
285 104
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added Colin Kaepernick American football player

16
539 331
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer

17
471 358
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Barry Bonds Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

18
340 317
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Ray Lewis Athlete, American football player

19
337 281
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Alex Rodriguez Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

20
313 287
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Richard Sherman American football player

21
257 227
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Terrell Owens Actor, Athlete, American football player

The Best Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

22
348 364
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Manny Pacquiáo Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

23
183 117
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Johnny Manziel American football player

24
199 157
Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Cam Newton Athlete, American football player

25
242 239
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tony Romo Athlete, American football player

26
236 245
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ndamukong Suh American football player

27
212 173
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dennis Rodman Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

28
183 156
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Ronda Rousey Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

Baseball Teams With The Most Annoying Fans

29
223 215
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Randy Moss Athlete, American football player

30
160 111
Bill Belichick is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
tconnfurn added Bill Belichick American football player, Football Coach, American Football coach

31
198 190
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Peyton Manning Athlete, American football player

32
231 240
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mark McGwire Coach, Baseball player

33
136 93
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Shaquille O'Neal Actor, Film Producer, Television producer

34
207 151
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Charles Barkley Actor, Athlete, Announcer

35
232 249
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Shoeless Joe Jackson Baseball player

The Weirdest Sports from Around the World

36
172 202
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Chad Ochocinco Athlete, American football player

37
109 101
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Caitlyn Jenner Actor, Athlete, Sports commentator

38
104 94
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Adrian Peterson Athlete, American football player

39
86 75
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dwight Howard Actor, Basketball player

40
83 56
Marshawn Lynch is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Marshawn Lynch American football player

41
97 91
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Joe Montana Coach, American football player

42
91 72
Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Aaron Rodgers Athlete, American football player

Cities With the Best Sports Fans

43
97 67
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Wilt Chamberlain Actor, Coach, Screenwriter

44
77 54
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ryanjjjj8 added Bill Russell Actor, Coach, Basketball player

45
88 104
Metta World Peace is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Metta World Peace Actor, Basketball player, Rapper

46
65 61
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Luis Suárez Footballer, Football player

47
147 186
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ty Cobb Baseball player

48
164 171
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
John McEnroe Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

49
121 120
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Hope Solo Footballer, Football player

50
76 83
Emmitt Smith is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
skypir876 added Emmitt Smith Athlete, American football player