Athletes Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments  

The Round Mound
Originally by
68.6k votes 7.3k voters 76.8k views 101 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
1,240 439
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
2,047 1,453
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Television producer, Voice acting
3
1,624 1,397
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
ravi2 added Actor, Athlete, Entrepreneur
4
1,384 1,314
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
RebeccaStroud added American football player
5
1,501 1,153
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
maxcool724 added Footballer, Football player
6
1,183 1,217
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Basketball player
7
1,331 1,715
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player
8
886 1,251
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Writer, Athlete, Golfer
9
848 1,184
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player, Spokesperson
10
721 1,105
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Baseball player
11
681 1,125
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, Professional Road Racing Cyclist
12
842 1,092
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
718 946
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Film Producer
14
728 963
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Philanthropist, Professional Boxer, Social activist
15
518 841
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player
16
592 813
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Professional Boxer
17
376 802
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
slantsix added Athlete, American football player
18
375 831
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
347 488
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Dave_7672 added American football player
20
366 726
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Baseball player
21
339 738
Richard Sherman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player
22
288 565
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, American football player
23
266 575
Tony Romo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Athlete, American football player
24
262 581
Ndamukong Suh is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
American football player
25
236 427
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments
Actor, Athlete, Basketball player