Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
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48.8k votes 6.5k voters 73.1k views 133 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
1,882 961
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
1,477 913
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
1,243 819
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
1,397 674
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
1,096 743
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Kobe Bryant Athlete, Basketball player

6
814 775
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tiger Woods Writer, Athlete, Golfer

7
1,265 1,208
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tim Tebow Athlete, American football player

8
790 710
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Michael Vick American football player, Spokesperson

9
674 634
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Rose Baseball player

10
706 340
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Cristiano Ronaldo Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

11
810 627
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
darren-bell added Diego Maradona Footballer, Football player, Manager

12
639 651
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Lance Armstrong Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

13
671 513
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mike Tyson Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

14
687 519
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
481 407
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Barry Bonds Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

16
544 383
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
297 153
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added Colin Kaepernick American football player

18
344 366
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
342 329
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Alex Rodriguez Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

20
318 336
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Richard Sherman American football player

21
350 413
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Manny Pacquiáo Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

22
264 269
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
247 281
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tony Romo Athlete, American football player

24
201 199
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
240 286
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ndamukong Suh American football player

26
187 158
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Johnny Manziel American football player

27
228 257
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Randy Moss Athlete, American football player

28
216 214
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dennis Rodman Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

29
234 281
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mark McGwire Coach, Baseball player

30
184 199
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Ronda Rousey Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

31
199 229
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Peyton Manning Athlete, American football player

32
163 150
Bill Belichick is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
tconnfurn added Bill Belichick American football player, Football Coach, American Football coach

33
234 288
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Shoeless Joe Jackson Baseball player

34
175 240
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Chad Ochocinco Athlete, American football player

35
209 189
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Charles Barkley Actor, Athlete, Announcer

36
137 132
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Shaquille O'Neal Actor, Film Producer, Television producer

37
149 225
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ty Cobb Baseball player

38
112 140
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Caitlyn Jenner Actor, Athlete, Sports commentator

39
106 131
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Adrian Peterson Athlete, American football player

40
91 143
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
90 114
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dwight Howard Actor, Basketball player

42
100 129
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Joe Montana Coach, American football player

43
99 191
Sammy Sosa is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Sammy Sosa Baseball player

44
166 209
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
John McEnroe Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

45
85 91
Marshawn Lynch is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Marshawn Lynch American football player

46
67 99
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
93 109
Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Aaron Rodgers Athlete, American football player

48
124 154
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Hope Solo Footballer, Football player

49
68 119
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Deion Sanders Actor, Athlete, Television producer

50
143 195
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Serena Williams Fashion Designer, Fashion designer, Writer