Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
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63.1k votes 6.9k voters 74.4k 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
1,102 357
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
1,909 1,352
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Television producer, Voice acting

3
1,496 1,304
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur

4
1,262 1,211
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added American football player

5
1,418 1,060
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Footballer, Football player

6
1,110 1,129
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Basketball player

7
1,275 1,604
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

8
824 1,165
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Writer, Athlete, Golfer

9
801 1,098
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player, Spokesperson

10
682 1,021
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

11
644 1,036
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

12
815 1,011
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
681 879
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

14
693 885
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

15
486 773
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

16
551 746
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer

17
348 732
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Athlete, American football player

18
356 755
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
322 666
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

20
344 659
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

21
266 501
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, American football player

22
305 420
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added American football player

23
249 514
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

24
244 517
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

25
204 415
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
230 471
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

27
235 486
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, Baseball player

28
202 388
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

29
217 381
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

30
189 341
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added American football player

31
186 351
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

32
234 432
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

33
175 385
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

34
167 293
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
149 366
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

36
139 241
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
210 324
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Announcer

38
114 239
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Actor, Athlete, Sports commentator

39
99 290
Sammy Sosa is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

40
167 303
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

41
92 241
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
108 225
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Athlete, American football player

43
145 281
Serena Williams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Fashion Designer, Fashion designer, Writer

44
102 220
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, American football player

45
91 205
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Basketball player

46
125 232
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Footballer, Football player

47
133 247
Paul Pierce is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Basketball player

48
70 176
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Footballer, Football player

49
83 205
Sidney Crosby is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Ice Hockey Player, Ice hockey player

50
87 163
Marshawn Lynch is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added American football player