One thing that makes sports great is the fact that everyone can have an opinion on whatever they want. One thing people love to debate on is the quality of athletes, and there are some athletes who are quite possibly the most polarizing athletes in sports. While many athletes, like Mike Trout, are argued to be to one of the most boring superstars in baseball, when athletes show their personalities, it can rub some people the wrong way. These are the five most polarizing athletes that are actively playing right now.
Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
While the 7-footer is one of the brightest stars in the NBA right now, one thing that stands out more than his plays on the court is the way he runs his mouth off the court. Earlier this season, he claimed that he was the "most-unguardable players in the league" and many fans took offense to what he said. What some of his fans claim is that Embiid can back it up on the court. During the 2018-2019 NBA regular season, Embiid average 27.5 points per game, and 13.6 rebounds per game. Love him or hate him, Embiid may be a loud mouth off the court, but he is able to back it up on the court.
Odell Beckham Jr. (Cleveland Browns)
When Odell Beckham Jr. was drafted by the New York Giants in 2014, his impact on the league, as well as on the fans, was felt from day one. In his rookie season, Beckham made one of the greatest catches in NFL history on the biggest stage, Sunday Night Football. Although he has also had antics on and off the field, during 2016, after slamming his helmet onto the practice kicking net, he would later "propose" to the net after scoring a touchdown. Last season, Beckham scored a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles and pretended to be a dog relieving himself in the endzone. While he might have a flamboyant personality off the field, his stats on the field, averaging 14 yards a catch and 44 touchdowns throughout his career, are something that all football fans can't deny.
Kyle Busch (#18 NASCAR Toyota)
For those who don't know, Kyle "Rowdy" Busch is the definition of love him or hate him. There are very, very few people who are on the fence about him. What makes Busch hated is the fact that Busch will run in NASCAR's "minor leagues" and beat on weaker competition, and will have a piss-poor attitude after he doesn't win, even when he runs well by NASCAR standards. Once he came back in 2015, after he broke his leg in a crash at the season-opening race at Daytona, and won the championship, he gained the respect of many fans of the sport. Also, he is a generational talent with 54 wins in NASCAR's Monster Cup Series (the highest level of NASCAR racing) and 204 wins across all of NASCAR's national touring series.
Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies)
Whether it's his crowd-pleasing bat flips, benches-clearing brawls, or lack of effort running out an easy ground ball, most baseball fans have an opinion of Bryce Harper, and it's generally not a good one. When Bryce Harper came into the Major League, he was one of the most hyped up athletes in sports history, and unlike most athletes as hyped up as him, he was able to live up to the expectations. As his career grew, many fans didn't like the fact that Harper would express his personality. With his transcendent hairstyle or always swinging for the fences, Harper has drawn the attention of numerous fans. With a career average of .279, 188 home runs, and being one of the highest paid athletes in America, the numbers don't lie about how good he is and will continue to be.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus F.C.)
While, here in the states, soccer doesn't have as much popularity or fame as other sports, like basketball or football, across the world soccer is the most popular sport in the world. One of the biggest stars in all of the professional sports, there are many fans who either love Cristiano Ronaldo or hate him. Whether its because they feel Lionel Messi is the better player or they can't stand Ronaldo's antics on and off the pitch, he is one of the biggest stars in the world. The amount of publicity he has brought to soccer, especially in America, is undeniable, with an increase of youth soccer in the nation and many young soccer players trying to replicate Ronaldo's style of play.