Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
Originally by
61.6k votes 6.9k voters 74.2k 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.
list ordered by

1
1,901 1,309
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Television producer, Voice acting

2
1,057 354
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

3
1,492 1,259
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur

4
1,260 1,166
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added American football player

5
1,415 1,016
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Footballer, Football player

6
1,109 1,085
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Basketball player

7
1,275 1,556
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

8
823 1,121
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Writer, Athlete, Golfer

9
798 1,055
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player, Spokesperson

10
681 977
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

11
643 993
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

12
815 969
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
darren-bell added Footballer, Football player, Manager

13
680 836
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

14
692 841
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

15
484 731
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

16
550 704
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer

17
347 690
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Athlete, American football player

18
355 712
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

19
320 624
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

20
344 617
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

21
303 383
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added American football player

22
265 464
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, American football player

23
249 476
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

24
242 480
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

25
203 386
Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Athlete, American football player

26
228 444
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

27
201 366
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

28
188 320
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added American football player

29
235 463
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, Baseball player

30
186 332
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

31
217 361
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

32
234 416
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

33
175 369
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

34
165 277
Bill Belichick is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
tconnfurn added American football player, Football Coach, American Football coach

35
149 350
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

36
138 229
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Actor, Film Producer, Television producer

37
210 311
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Announcer

38
114 230
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Actor, Athlete, Sports commentator

39
99 281
Sammy Sosa is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

40
167 295
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

41
91 233
Metta World Peace is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Actor, Basketball player, Rapper

42
107 218
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Athlete, American football player

43
145 274
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Fashion Designer, Fashion designer, Writer

44
91 199
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Basketball player

45
100 214
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, American football player

46
125 227
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Footballer, Football player

47
133 242
Paul Pierce is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Basketball player

48
70 171
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Footballer, Football player

49
68 193
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Actor, Athlete, Television producer

50
82 200
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Ice Hockey Player, Ice hockey player