Sports

Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments 

The Round Mound
Originally by
Updated June 14, 2019 68.9k votes 7.4k voters 77.2k views 100 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
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Basketball Player
2
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur
3
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added American football player
4
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player
5
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Footballer, Football player
6
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Basketball player
7
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur
8
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player, Spokesperson
9
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Film Producer
10
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer
11
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist
12
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
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Writer, Athlete, Golfer
14
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player
15
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player
16
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist
17
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Announcer
18
Allen Iverson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Basketball player, Rapper
19
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Coach, Screenwriter
20
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added American football player
21
Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player
22
Tonya Harding is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Professional Boxer
23
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Basketball player
24
Marshawn Lynch is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added American football player
25
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Footballer, Football player