Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
Originally by
66.3k votes 7.1k voters 75k views 101 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
1,170 368
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

2
1,932 1,407
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Television producer, Voice acting

3
1,518 1,363
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur

4
1,288 1,267
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added American football player

5
1,432 1,116
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Footballer, Football player

6
1,124 1,185
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Basketball player

7
1,288 1,666
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

8
832 1,223
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Writer, Athlete, Golfer

9
809 1,158
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player, Spokesperson

10
690 1,077
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

11
649 1,094
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

12
817 1,066
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
688 932
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

14
697 940
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

15
491 827
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

16
559 800
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer

17
354 787
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Athlete, American football player

18
359 809
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
326 721
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

20
347 713
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

21
270 553
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, American football player

22
314 473
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added American football player

23
252 563
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

24
247 566
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

25
206 462
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
234 517
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

27
237 529
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, Baseball player

28
207 432
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

29
190 393
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

30
235 470
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

31
219 422
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

32
191 382
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added American football player

33
175 424
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

34
169 333
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
149 405
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

36
140 272
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
211 361
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Announcer

38
115 269
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Actor, Athlete, Sports commentator

39
99 320
Sammy Sosa is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

40
168 333
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

41
92 269
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
109 254
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Athlete, American football player

43
147 309
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Fashion Designer, Fashion designer, Writer

44
104 248
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, American football player

45
126 260
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Footballer, Football player

46
91 233
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Basketball player

47
134 273
Paul Pierce is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Basketball player

48
69 219
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Actor, Athlete, Television producer

49
71 201
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Footballer, Football player

50
79 208
Emmitt Smith is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
skypir876 added Athlete, American football player