Athletes

Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
Originally by
68.7k votes 7.3k voters 76.9k 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
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Television producer, Voice acting
2
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
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur
4
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added 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
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player
8
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Writer, Athlete, Golfer
9
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player
10
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player, Spokesperson
11
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
darren-bell added Footballer, Football player, Manager
12
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist
13
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Film Producer
14
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist
15
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer
16
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player
17
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Athlete, American football player
18
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
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added American football player
20
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player
21
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player
22
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, American football player
23
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player
24
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player
25
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, Baseball player