Controversial The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
12.1k votes 1.3k voters 25.8k 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
578 91
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 72

2
409 158
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 53

3
379 148
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

4
285 99
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 30

5
280 136
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 39

6
270 116
Tonya Harding is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 49

7
290 161
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 58

8
249 131
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 55

9
176 67
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

10
257 161
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 44

11
242 134
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
sageantone added age 70

12
178 94
Ray Rice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 32

13
153 94
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Bellwoodbomb611 added age 27

14
197 143
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

15
144 105
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 44

16
190 113
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 78

17
175 118
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

18
103 80
Ben Johnson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 58

19
123 73
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 46

20
163 141
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 77

21
104 62
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 60

22
106 73
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 56

23
108 95
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 32

24
97 68
Jose Canseco is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
RobLein added age 55

25
97 71
Hope Solo is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 38