Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
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58k votes 6.7k voters 73.7k 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
1,889 1,162
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Television producer, Voice acting

2
1,482 1,115
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur

3
1,247 1,022
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added American football player

4
911 342
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

5
1,405 873
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Footballer, Football player

6
1,101 943
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Basketball player

7
1,266 1,413
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

8
817 977
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Writer, Athlete, Golfer

9
792 913
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player, Spokesperson

10
675 838
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

11
640 852
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

12
813 827
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
673 708
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

14
688 715
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

15
482 604
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

16
545 579
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer

17
344 563
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Athlete, American football player

18
352 592
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
319 514
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

20
298 295
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added American football player

21
342 505
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

22
264 400
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, American football player

23
248 411
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

24
240 416
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

25
202 325
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
228 383
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

27
235 407
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, Baseball player

28
187 284
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added American football player

29
216 322
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

30
200 336
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

31
184 306
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

32
234 395
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

33
175 348
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

34
163 257
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
149 329
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

36
209 294
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Announcer

37
137 218
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Actor, Film Producer, Television producer

38
99 275
Sammy Sosa is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

39
113 225
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Actor, Athlete, Sports commentator

40
91 228
Metta World Peace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Actor, Basketball player, Rapper

41
167 290
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

42
106 213
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Athlete, American football player

43
143 268
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Fashion Designer, Fashion designer, Writer

44
90 195
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Basketball player

45
100 211
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, American football player

46
124 225
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Footballer, Football player

47
68 190
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Actor, Athlete, Television producer

48
69 169
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Footballer, Football player

49
133 240
Paul Pierce is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Basketball player

50
82 198
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Ice Hockey Player, Ice hockey player