The 35 Meanest Athletes of All Time

Kelsey GivensAnalyst IIApril 28, 2011

The 35 Meanest Athletes of All Time

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    Athletes are just like regular people. They can either be humble, courteous people just doing a job or…they can be total jerks.

    Maybe it’s the allegations of steroid use or the natural aggression most athletes seem to posses, but the athletes who have made this list have taken these characteristics to a new level.

    They have taken their aggressive tendencies off of the field and court and have used them against fans, family members and other people who cross their path on the wrong day.

    So here is a list of the 50 meanest athletes in all of sports history.

No. 35 Dave Kingman

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    This guy is just mean.

    He’s very well known for his harsh personality and quick temper, as well as his playing performance.

    Check out his biography here.

No. 34 Serena Williams

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    Serena is one of the most talented athletes in the game of tennis. However all of her competitiveness seems to have come along with an attitude. On one occasion it was even caught on video that she allegedly called an opponent a not so nice name.  

No. 33 Bill Parcells

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    While he wasn't an athlete for long, he did play at the collegiate level and his mean attitude is almost as well known as his coaching abilities.

    Here's a news story about his refusal to call T.O by his name.   

No. 32 John Rocker

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    John Rocker is possibly one of the most judgmental athletes in sports, his unnecessarily mean comments that came from a 2000 Sports Illustrated interview helped prove that fact and put him on this list. 

    Here is a link to the actual Sports Illustrated article.  

No. 31 Tommy Lasorda

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    This guy has a major temper. In one post-game press conference he let loose a tirade of f-bombs when a reporter asked him about the performance of the team who had beaten his.

    Here is a link to a collection of some of his best and meanest rants. Caution there is some highly offensive, but funny, language used in this clip.  

No. 30 Jim Brown

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    This guy is a great actor and football player, but he has a pretty bad temper, which lands him on this list.

    Here is a profile of Brown from ESPN, the legal problems section says it all.  

No. 29 Michael Phelps

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    This guy may in the media come off as America’s sweet heart, but rumor has it he is a major jerk in real life because he thinks he’s God’s gift to mankind.

    For your entertainment, here is a Huffington Post article, with videos, about the infamous bong smoking incident. 

No. 28 Diego Maradona

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    This soccer player landed himself on this list thanks to his holier-than-thou attitude he takes with just about everyone, and the way he handed not having his contract renewed as the coach of the Argentina national team.

    Here is a story about the soccer player actually hitting a cameraman and then berating him instead of apologizing.  

No. 27 Michael Irvin

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    This guy was one of the best players the Dallas Cowboys have ever seen. 

    However, he seems to have one bad temper, which allegedly manifested itself in several assault incidents during his time as a player.

    This biography of Irvin, has a whole section dedicated to his legal troubles  

No. 26 Danica Patrick

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    This female race car driver is not always the nicest of people, and that kind of attitude lands her on this list of the meanest athletes in sports.

    Here is video of Danica being booed at an event, after losing and blaming it on the car instead of her own ability.  

No. 25 Dale Earnhardt Sr.

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    He may have been one of the greatest race car drivers of all time, but that didn't stop him from being one of the biggest jerks of all time, which is why he made his way onto this list of the meanest athletes of all time.

    Here is one NASCAR fan's opinion of the late, great driver, which shows how well known his meanness could be.  

No. 24 Adam “Pacman” Jones

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    This jerk’s mean streak had gotten him into not only trouble with his teams, but legal trouble as well.

    Here is an ESPN article listing many of the incidents that have given Jones this label.  

No. 23 Randy Moss

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    While more mellow now, in the beginning of his career he was notorious for being selfish and for having a bad attitude. He was even quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying, "I play when I want to play."

    Here is an article about when he was released from the Vikings earlier this year for his rude and mean commentary about a local restaurant that catered a diner for the team.  

No. 22 George Steinbrenner

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    This Yankees owner is one of the meanest in the team's history. He's most well known for firing, and on occasion rehiring people on his staff.

    Here is a biography of this famous owner, which said he went through 17 managers in his first season with the team alone.  

No. 21 Ben Johnson

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    This sprinter really screwed up when he was caught doping after he won two bronze and one gold Olympic medal in the 1980s.

    Rumor has it his drug use made him not the nicest of people, which is what put him on this list. And here is a biography which lends credit to those rumors.    

No. 20 Bill Romanowski

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    This guy is a real jerk. During his career in the NFL he was fined multiple times for hard hits and an altercation with J.J. Stokes where he actually spit in the wide reciever’s face.

    Here is an NY Times article about the spitting incident. 

No. 19 Albert Belle

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    Known for an excessive temper and being someone quick to react with physical destruction, this guy is one mean dude.

    Here is profile about Belle's playing abilities and temper.   

No. 18 Elizabeth Lambert

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    Elizabeth Lambert gained the attention of the nation not because of her skills on the field, but because of her unwarranted mean behavior during a match between her school, University of New Mexico and BYU.

    She was accused of pulling hair and throwing punches to put herself ahead in the game.

    Here is a video of several of these instances.  

No. 17 Maria Sharapova

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    This girl may be a successful and well known tennis player, but rumor has it she can also be a very mean girl too.

    Here is a TMZ account of her attitude on the set of a photo shoot.  

No. 16 Jeff Kent

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    This guy is notoriously known as one of the biggest jerks in all of sports, which is why he made his way onto this list.

    Here is a biography of the baseball player, which acknowledges he's seen as a total jerk by many.  

No. 15 Kenny Rogers

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    Unlike the song writing hippie who shares the same name, this well known baseball player seemed in 2005 to have a real problem with the media.

    After pushing down and injuring a reporter after warm-ups, he was charged with a Class C misdemeanor for injuring the reporter.

    Here is an ESPN article about the incident.  

No. 14 Kenesaw Mountain Landis

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    During his reign as baseball commissioner this meanie wouldn’t integrate major league baseball, excluding minority players from the leagues.

    Here is a biography of the commissioner.  

No. 13 Derrick Caracter

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    This rookie Lakers player was arrested Sunday morning after allegedly hitting a pregnant waitress at an IHOP, according to a report from The Huffington Post. That kind of alleged mean behavior landed this guy on the list.

    Here is an LA Times article on the incident.  

No. 12 Randall Simon

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    This is one really mean dude. During a 2003 baseball game he took his baseball bat a hit someone dressed up like a sausage over the head.

    Here is a video of the incident.  

No. 11 Ty Cobb

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    This baseball legend was a great player, but his temper was something to be reckoned with, which is why he landed on this list.

    Here is an LA Times article about his grandson, which acknowledges his major temper problem.  

No. 10 Claude Lemieux

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    This guy was a real meanie. He is known for being an awesomely dirty player in the NHL, and once even bit an opponent on the finger in his rage during a fight on the ice.

    Here is an article about the player and his infamous fights.   

No. 9 Barry Bonds

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    This guy may be on talented baseball player, but he is also a world class jerk. His quick temper and bad attitude make him one mean athlete.

    Here is an article about the testimony given by Bonds former mistress in his perjury trial about what a mean person he truly is.   

No. 8 Marcus Vick

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    Infamous younger brother of Michael Vick, this athlete only got to play at the professional football level for a short while before his mean personality and behavior ended his career.

    Over the course of his time playing at the collegiate and professional levels, Vick flipped the bird to the crowd, stomped on an opponents leg and had other mean, unsportsman-like behaviors which resulted in his dismissal from the Virgina Tech team and later the Miami Dolphins.

    Here is an article about the younger Vick brother, which talks about his mean unsportsmanlike behavior and the legal trouble his mean attitude has gotten him into. 

No. 7 Latrell Sprewell

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    This former NBA player seemed to have a serious mean streak in him. He was known for several violent acts against fellow teammates, but his most infamous moment came in 1997 when he choked his coach, P.J. Carlesimo.

    Here is an ESPN article detailing the infamous event in this players past.  

No. 6 Bobby Knight

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    While he may be best known for his coaching career, Knight was an athlete at one point in time, even playing on the 1960 Ohio State Championship basketball team. 

    His temper and anger are almost as well known as his coaching abilities, which is why he landed himself on this list.

    Here is a video of the infamous chair throwing temper tantrum Knight once threw.  

No. 5 Kermit Washington

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    This former basketball player is best known for his infamous punch that severely injured his opponent Rudy Tomjanovich, ending Tomjanovich’s career in the NBA.

    Here is a video of the infamous event.  

No. 4 Tonya Harding

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    By trying to beat Nancy Kerrigan in a sneaky and backhanded way, instead of through legitimate competition, Tonya Harding has earned a spot in history as one of the meanest athletes in history.

    Here is a timeline story of this infamous event from the Washington Post.  

No. 3 John McEnroe

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    One of the most well known angry and mean athletes ever to have competed on the national and world-wide level. His fowl mouth, quick temper and bursts of anger put him at the top of this list.

    Here is a video montage of some of this tennis players more famous tantrums on the court.  

No. 2 Michael Vick

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    Anyone who can pit poor defenseless dogs against one another is cruel and mean at heart. People may debate about how involved he really was in the dog fighting ring, but even being involved a small amount makes Vick one of the meanest people on this list.

    Here is a Fox News article about the infamous case.  

No. 1 Rae Carruth

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    This is one seriously mean athlete. In 2001 the Carolina Panthers player was found guilty of conspiring to murder his girlfriend, and is projected to be in prison until 2018.

    Here is a profile of this former player and of the incident that put him in prison.