Controversial The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
12.3k votes 1.4k voters 26.4k views 61 items

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
593 95
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 72

2
420 161
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 53

3
390 151
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

4
290 103
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 30

5
288 138
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 39

6
276 120
Tonya Harding is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 49

7
295 164
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 58

8
254 134
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 55

9
189 69
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

10
261 165
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 44

11
251 138
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
sageantone added age 70

12
186 96
Ray Rice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 32

13
161 96
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Bellwoodbomb611 added age 27

14
204 146
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

15
195 114
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 78

16
148 107
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 44

17
180 119
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

18
106 81
Ben Johnson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 58

19
126 75
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 46

20
164 144
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 77

21
113 98
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 32

22
108 75
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 56

23
105 65
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 60

24
100 69
Jose Canseco is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
RobLein added age 55

25
132 107
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 41