athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
Originally by
43.3k votes 6.3k voters 72k 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
1,833 889
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
1,446 841
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
1,363 607
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
1,210 760
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
1,074 682
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Kobe Bryant Athlete, Basketball player

6
795 714
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tiger Woods Writer, Athlete, Golfer

7
771 649
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Michael Vick American football player, Spokesperson

8
796 566
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
1,247 1,149
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tim Tebow Athlete, American football player

10
659 456
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mike Tyson Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

11
662 581
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Rose Baseball player

12
629 331
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Cristiano Ronaldo Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

13
680 465
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
626 598
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
278 101
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
535 329
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
469 356
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Barry Bonds Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

18
338 315
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
335 279
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Alex Rodriguez Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

20
313 284
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Richard Sherman American football player

21
255 226
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 Living American Actors

22
347 362
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
179 116
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
198 155
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
242 237
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tony Romo Athlete, American football player

26
236 244
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ndamukong Suh American football player

27
209 173
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dennis Rodman Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

28
182 156
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
223 214
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
159 110
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
197 189
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Peyton Manning Athlete, American football player

32
231 239
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mark McGwire Coach, Baseball player

33
133 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
206 151
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Charles Barkley Actor, Athlete, Announcer

35
232 248
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

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

36
172 201
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
104 93
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Adrian Peterson Athlete, American football player

38
83 55
Marshawn Lynch is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Marshawn Lynch American football player

39
106 101
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
85 75
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dwight Howard Actor, Basketball player

41
97 90
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Joe Montana Coach, American football player

42
97 66
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Wilt Chamberlain Actor, Coach, Screenwriter

Cities With the Best Sports Fans

43
90 71
Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Aaron Rodgers Athlete, American football player

44
76 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
87 104
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
146 185
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ty Cobb Baseball player

47
61 61
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Luis Suárez Footballer, Football player

48
164 170
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
John McEnroe Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

49
76 82
Emmitt Smith is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
skypir876 added Emmitt Smith Athlete, American football player

50
79 89
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Sidney Crosby Athlete, Ice Hockey Player, Ice hockey player