Controversial The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History  

Ranker Sports
Originally by
12.4k 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
594 95
O. J. Simpson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 72

2
421 161
Mike Tyson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 53

3
391 152
Lance Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

4
290 104
Aaron Hernandez is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 30

5
289 138
Michael Vick is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 39

6
277 120
Tonya Harding is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 49

7
296 164
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 58

8
254 135
Barry Bonds is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 55

9
190 70
Colin Kaepernick is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

10
261 166
Tiger Woods is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 44

11
252 138
Caitlyn Jenner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
sageantone added age 70

12
186 97
Ray Rice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 32

13
161 97
Johnny Manziel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
Bellwoodbomb611 added age 27

14
204 147
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

15
196 114
Pete Rose is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 78

16
149 107
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 44

17
181 120
Alex Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

18
106 82
Ben Johnson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 58

19
127 75
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 46

20
165 144
Muhammad Ali is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 77

21
109 75
Mark McGwire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
age 56

22
113 99
Luis Suárez is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
james-bourne added age 32

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
132 108
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History
ConnorRichardson added age 41