Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
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57.5k votes 6.7k voters 73.6k views 104 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.

1
1,888 1,143
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
1,481 1,096
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
1,247 1,003
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added Tom Brady American football player

4
1,404 854
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Lionel Messi Footballer, Football player

5
891 342
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Cristiano Ronaldo Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

6
1,101 924
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Kobe Bryant Athlete, Basketball player

7
1,266 1,394
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tim Tebow Athlete, American football player

8
817 958
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tiger Woods Writer, Athlete, Golfer

9
791 894
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Michael Vick American football player, Spokesperson

10
675 819
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Rose Baseball player

11
640 833
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Lance Armstrong Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

12
813 808
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
darren-bell added Diego Maradona Footballer, Football player, Manager

13
673 692
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mike Tyson Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

14
688 699
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Muhammad Ali Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

15
482 588
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Barry Bonds Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

16
545 563
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
344 547
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Ray Lewis Athlete, American football player

18
352 575
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Manny Pacquiáo Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

19
298 284
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added Colin Kaepernick American football player

20
342 490
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Alex Rodriguez Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

21
319 500
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Richard Sherman American football player

22
264 393
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Terrell Owens Actor, Athlete, American football player

23
248 404
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tony Romo Athlete, American football player

24
240 409
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ndamukong Suh American football player

25
202 320
Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Cam Newton Athlete, American football player

26
228 378
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Randy Moss Athlete, American football player

27
235 402
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mark McGwire Coach, Baseball player

28
187 279
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Johnny Manziel American football player

29
216 320
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dennis Rodman Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

30
200 334
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Peyton Manning Athlete, American football player

31
184 304
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Ronda Rousey Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

32
234 393
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Shoeless Joe Jackson Baseball player

33
175 346
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Chad Ochocinco Athlete, American football player

34
163 255
Bill Belichick is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
tconnfurn added Bill Belichick American football player, Football Coach, American Football coach

35
149 327
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ty Cobb Baseball player

36
209 292
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Charles Barkley Actor, Athlete, Announcer

37
137 217
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Shaquille O'Neal Actor, Film Producer, Television producer

38
99 274
Sammy Sosa is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Sammy Sosa Baseball player

39
113 224
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Caitlyn Jenner Actor, Athlete, Sports commentator

40
91 227
Metta World Peace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Metta World Peace Actor, Basketball player, Rapper

41
106 212
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Adrian Peterson Athlete, American football player

42
167 289
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
John McEnroe Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

43
90 194
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dwight Howard Actor, Basketball player

44
143 267
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Serena Williams Fashion Designer, Fashion designer, Writer

45
100 210
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Joe Montana Coach, American football player

46
124 224
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Hope Solo Footballer, Football player

47
68 189
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Deion Sanders Actor, Athlete, Television producer

48
69 168
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Luis Suárez Footballer, Football player

49
82 197
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Sidney Crosby Athlete, Ice Hockey Player, Ice hockey player

50
133 239
Paul Pierce is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Paul Pierce Basketball player