Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
Originally by
49.2k votes 6.5k voters 73.2k views 129 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.

1
1,884 965
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
LeBron James Athlete, Television producer, Voice acting

2
1,478 917
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Michael Jordan Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur

3
1,244 824
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added Tom Brady American football player

4
1,399 678
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Lionel Messi Footballer, Football player

5
1,098 747
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Kobe Bryant Athlete, Basketball player

6
815 780
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tiger Woods Writer, Athlete, Golfer

7
1,265 1,214
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tim Tebow Athlete, American football player

8
791 715
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Michael Vick American football player, Spokesperson

9
674 639
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Rose Baseball player

10
712 340
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Cristiano Ronaldo Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

11
640 655
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Lance Armstrong Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

12
812 631
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
darren-bell added Diego Maradona Footballer, Football player, Manager

13
672 517
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mike Tyson Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

14
687 524
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Muhammad Ali Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

15
481 412
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Barry Bonds Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

16
545 387
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer

17
297 158
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added Colin Kaepernick American football player

18
344 371
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Ray Lewis Athlete, American football player

19
342 333
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Alex Rodriguez Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

20
319 340
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Richard Sherman American football player

21
351 417
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Manny Pacquiáo Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

22
264 273
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Terrell Owens Actor, Athlete, American football player

23
248 285
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tony Romo Athlete, American football player

24
202 203
Cam Newton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Cam Newton Athlete, American football player

25
240 290
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ndamukong Suh American football player

26
187 162
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Johnny Manziel American football player

27
228 261
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Randy Moss Athlete, American football player

28
216 219
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dennis Rodman Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

29
234 285
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mark McGwire Coach, Baseball player

30
184 203
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Ronda Rousey Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

31
200 233
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Peyton Manning Athlete, American football player

32
163 154
Bill Belichick is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
tconnfurn added Bill Belichick American football player, Football Coach, American Football coach

33
234 292
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Shoeless Joe Jackson Baseball player

34
175 244
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Chad Ochocinco Athlete, American football player

35
209 193
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Charles Barkley Actor, Athlete, Announcer

36
137 136
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Shaquille O'Neal Actor, Film Producer, Television producer

37
149 229
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ty Cobb Baseball player

38
113 144
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Caitlyn Jenner Actor, Athlete, Sports commentator

39
106 135
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Adrian Peterson Athlete, American football player

40
91 147
Metta World Peace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Metta World Peace Actor, Basketball player, Rapper

41
90 118
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dwight Howard Actor, Basketball player

42
100 134
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Joe Montana Coach, American football player

43
99 195
Sammy Sosa is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Sammy Sosa Baseball player

44
167 213
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
John McEnroe Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

45
68 102
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Luis Suárez Footballer, Football player

46
85 94
Marshawn Lynch is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Marshawn Lynch American football player

47
94 113
Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Aaron Rodgers Athlete, American football player

48
124 157
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Hope Solo Footballer, Football player

49
68 122
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Deion Sanders Actor, Athlete, Television producer

50
143 199
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Serena Williams Fashion Designer, Fashion designer, Writer