Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
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58.2k 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 1,174
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 1,127
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 1,034
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added American football player

4
923 342
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
1,405 885
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Footballer, Football player

6
1,101 955
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Basketball player

7
1,266 1,425
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

8
817 989
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Writer, Athlete, Golfer

9
792 925
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player, Spokesperson

10
675 850
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

11
640 864
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist

12
813 839
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
673 719
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Film Producer

14
688 726
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist

15
482 615
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

16
545 590
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer

17
344 574
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Athlete, American football player

18
352 602
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
342 514
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player

20
319 524
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

21
298 302
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added American football player

22
264 406
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, American football player

23
248 417
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

24
240 422
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player

25
202 330
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
228 388
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

27
235 412
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Coach, Baseball player

28
187 287
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
terry-collins added American football player

29
216 325
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Basketball player

30
200 337
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player

31
184 307
Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
DavidTeasdale added Actor, Mixed Martial Artist

32
234 396
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Pete Price added Baseball player

33
175 349
Chad Ochocinco is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
PepDekker added Athlete, American football player

34
163 258
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
149 330
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player

36
137 218
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
209 295
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Announcer

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