controversial The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History  

Ranker Sports
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List Rules Athletes in any sport that have been embroiled in controversy - domestic disputes, sex scandals, cheating accusations, anything really

Sports stars are one part celebrity, one part athlete. Like so many celebrities, some sports stars are prone to scandal. These sports stars are were involved some of the biggest controversies of all time, and many remain controversial figures to this day despite being retired.

O.J Simpson is perhaps the biggest controversial athlete of all time, for "not killing his ex-wife" in 1994. Remember when one of the best NBA players of all time, LeBron James, took his talents to South Beach? That was definitely a case of a sports star who caused controversy. And then, of course, there's Anna Kournikova, who has caused controversy simply for being beautiful.

Which athletes do you think are the most controversial of all time? What is your definition of controversy? Is it off-the-field antics like the domestic drama surrounding Tiger Woods, or is it on-the-court antics like John McEnroe's famous profane meltdowns?

Which is worse, steroids or biting off someone's ear? The choice is yours! Vote up the stars who've caused the most controversy and if we missed any scandalous athletes, add them to the controversial sport stars list!
list ordered by

1
340 56
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
O. J. Simpson age 70

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2
258 81
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Mike Tyson age 51

3
224 83
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

4
153 47
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added Aaron Hernandez age 28

5
199 93
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Dennis Rodman age 56

6
162 83
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Michael Vick age 37

7
160 87
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Barry Bonds age 53

8
158 96
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Tiger Woods age 42

9
138 76
Tonya Harding is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added Tonya Harding age 45

10
93 46
Ray Rice is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added Ray Rice age 30

11
130 90
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

12
131 84
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
sageantone added Caitlyn Jenner age 66

13
77 44
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Bellwoodbomb611 added Johnny Manziel age 25

14
86 58
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added Ray Lewis age 42

15
131 83
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

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16
130 79
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Pete Rose age 76

17
83 58
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added Luis Suárez age 30

18
40 13
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

19
72 42
Jose Canseco is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
RobLein added Jose Canseco age 53

20
67 51
Ben Johnson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added Ben Johnson age 54

21
77 51
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Mark McGwire age 54

22
87 60
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added Kobe Bryant age 39

23
58 41
Lawrence Taylor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added Lawrence Taylor age 58

24
63 44
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added Hope Solo age 36

25
97 88
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added Muhammad Ali age 75

26
69 46
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
John McEnroe age 58

27
73 50
Sammy Sosa is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Sammy Sosa age 49

28
70 49
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Terrell Owens age 44

29
52 37
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Anthony Hawkins added Tom Brady age 40

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30
55 37
John Rocker is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
John Rocker age 43

31
11 4
Darren Sharper is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

32
51 45
Isiah Thomas is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Isiah Thomas age 56

33
28 21
Patrick Kane is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
doro-the-exploro-gaming added Patrick Kane age 29

34
51 45
Ty Cobb is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Ty Cobb Died at 75 (1886-1961)

35
65 60
Shoeless Joe Jackson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Shoeless Joe Jackson Died at 64 (1887-1951)

36
57 52
Allen Iverson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Allen Iverson age 42

37
48 44
Plaxico Burress is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

38
41 41
Sonny Liston is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added Sonny Liston Died at 38 (1932-1970)

39
23 15
Paolo Di Canio is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Mollevangsvagen added Paolo Di Canio age 49

40
81 81
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
LeBron James age 33

41
51 38
Manny Ramírez is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

42
15 12
Jerrod Mustaf is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Anna Paolinelli added Jerrod Mustaf age 46

43
37 36
Zola Budd is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added Zola Budd age 49

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44
16 10
Tyson Fury is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Mollevangsvagen added Tyson Fury age 29

45
19 14
Paul Gascoigne is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
MaikPauli added Paul Gascoigne age 48

46
38 40
Floyd Landis is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Floyd Landis age 40

47
18 15
Alberto Contador is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Fletcher Edge added Alberto Contador age 35

48
29 32
Gerald McClellan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
darren-bell added Gerald McClellan age 48

49
99 120
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

50
63 71
Tim Tebow is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Tim Tebow age 30