• Sports

Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments

List RulesOnly 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.
Photo:
  • 1
    1,658
    1,218

    LeBron James

    Basketball Player
  • 2
    1,268
    1,103
    ravi2 added

    Michael Jordan

    Actor, Athlete
  • 3
    1,127
    1,100
    RebeccaStroud added

    Tom Brady

    American football player
  • 4
    1,288
    1,001
    maxcool724 added

    Lionel Messi

    Footballer, Football player
  • 5
    918
    976

    Kobe Bryant

    Athlete, Basketball player
  • 6
    909
    1,293

    Tim Tebow

    Athlete, American football player
  • 7
    1,090
    407
    wiabux addedFootballer, Football player
  • 8
    458
    679

    Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    Actor, Athlete
  • 9
    531
    762

    Mike Tyson

    Actor, Athlete
  • 10
    538
    766

    Muhammad Ali

    Philanthropist, Professional Boxer
  • 11
    636
    964

    Michael Vick

    American football player, Spokesperson
  • 12
    647
    981

    Tiger Woods

    Writer, Athlete
  • 13
    630
    951
    darren-bell addedFootballer, Football player
  • 14
    519
    875

    Pete Rose

    Baseball player
  • 15
    382
    680
    Actor, Athlete
  • 16
    482
    909
    Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist
  • 17
    325
    454
    Dave_7672 added

    Colin Kaepernick

    American football player
  • 18
    94
    173
    Athlete, Basketball player
  • 19
    86
    182
    Athlete, American football player
  • 20
    81
    158

    Wilt Chamberlain

    Actor, Coach
  • 21
    220
    465

    Terrell Owens

    Actor, Athlete
  • 22
    160
    293
    Actor, Athlete
  • 23
    53
    95
    RichardBeecher added

    Hulk Hogan

    Actor, Musician
  • 24
    108
    241

    Serena Williams

    Fashion Designer, Fashion designer
  • 25
    176
    352
    Actor, Athlete
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List Rules: Only athletes who are among the most debated in sports.