athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
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40.5k votes 5.7k voters 70.4k views 136 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
1,594 778
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
1,086 656
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added Tom Brady American football player

3
1,255 770
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Michael Jordan Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur

4
1,118 542
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
961 628
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Kobe Bryant Athlete, Basketball player

6
722 569
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Michael Vick American football player, Spokesperson

7
731 653
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tiger Woods Writer, Athlete, Golfer

8
747 514
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
darren-bell added Diego Maradona Footballer, Football player, Manager

9
1,214 1,091
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tim Tebow Athlete, American football player

10
625 435
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mike Tyson Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

11
645 553
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Rose Baseball player

12
602 574
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Lance Armstrong Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

13
638 454
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Muhammad Ali Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

14
237 80
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added Colin Kaepernick American football player

48 Famous Couples with Huge Age Differences

15
530 314
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Cristiano Ronaldo Footballer, Football player, Fashion entrepreneur

16
501 318
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
454 343
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Barry Bonds Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

18
324 300
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
322 265
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Alex Rodriguez Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

20
303 271
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Richard Sherman American football player

21
243 213
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Terrell Owens Actor, Athlete, American football player

Sports Teams With The Most Fanatical Fans

22
336 352
Manny Pacquiáo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Manny Pacquiáo Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

23
172 106
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Johnny Manziel American football player

24
191 148
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
238 228
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Tony Romo Athlete, American football player

26
234 235
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ndamukong Suh American football player

27
221 206
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
176 148
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Ronda Rousey Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

The Most Outrageous Athlete Meltdowns with Fans

29
153 104
Bill Belichick is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
tconnfurn added Bill Belichick American football player, Football Coach, American Football coach

30
202 168
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dennis Rodman Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

31
227 233
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Mark McGwire Coach, Baseball player

32
189 183
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Peyton Manning Athlete, American football player

33
201 147
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Charles Barkley Actor, Athlete, Announcer

34
123 86
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slaft added Shaquille O'Neal Actor, Film Producer, Television producer

35
172 195
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Chad Ochocinco Athlete, American football player

The Best History Documentaries on Netflix Instant

36
228 245
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Shoeless Joe Jackson Baseball player

37
103 88
Adrian Peterson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
surag added Adrian Peterson Athlete, American football player

38
104 94
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
81 71
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dwight Howard Actor, Basketball player

40
78 52
Marshawn Lynch is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added Marshawn Lynch American football player

41
95 64
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Wilt Chamberlain Actor, Coach, Screenwriter

42
93 88
Joe Montana is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Joe Montana Coach, American football player

The Best Current MLB Shortstops

43
86 100
Metta World Peace is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
wiabux added Metta World Peace Actor, Basketball player, Rapper

44
146 182
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Ty Cobb Baseball player

45
72 52
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ryanjjjj8 added Bill Russell Actor, Coach, Basketball player

46
84 70
Aaron Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Aaron Rodgers Athlete, American football player

47
163 167
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
John McEnroe Actor, Tennis player, Commentator

48
75 79
Emmitt Smith is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
skypir876 added Emmitt Smith Athlete, American football player

49
55 58
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
broncubspurs added Luis Suárez Footballer, Football player

50
118 116
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Hope Solo Footballer, Football player