Top 10 Hotheaded Athletes

Script written by Q.V. Hough.

There are a lot of athletes with terrible tempers – but boy are they fun to watch! Whether it’s John McEnroe, Kurt Busch or Terrell Owens, hotheaded athletes come from all sports. WatchMojo counts down ten of the biggest hotheads in sports to see who has the shortest temper.

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Script written by Q.V. Hough.

Top 10 Hotheaded Athletes

In professional sports, athletes typically give everything they have, so sometimes they may need to blow off a little steam. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 hotheaded athletes.

For this list, we’re focusing on professional athletes that have been known to lose their tempers in the spirit of competition.

#10: Terrell Owens

Known for his exceptional receiving skills and larger than life personality, this six-time Pro Bowler was sometimes emotional to a fault. Perhaps Terrell Owens’ most intense on-field moment came in 2000 when he disrespected the Dallas Cowboys’ midfield logo in a touchdown celebration. At first it looked like just another classic T.O. moment, but things escalated quickly when Cowboys safety George Teague charged at Owens while he celebrated his second touchdown. Over the course of his career, however, Owens was known to consistently butt heads with teammates, and often transferred his energy on the field to media interviews as well. With this guy, you just never knew…

#9: Metta World Peace

Seven years before his name change, this NBA star was all about “in-your-face” defense. In fact, the man formerly known as Ron Artest even won Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. Ironically, that was the same season he took center stage in arguably the most epic brawl in NBA history. Before the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers fought each other and fans, World Peace was already a five-year veteran known for his combative personality. But when a fan threw a Coke at him, he infamously lost his cool and the rest is history. Though he’s broken TV cameras and traded verbal jabs with coaches, the Coca Cola-inspired meltdown will go down as Metta’s most bizarre moment.

#8: Kurt Busch

In the world of stock car racing, drivers don’t always have time to physically duke it out with competitors. But someone like Kurt Busch is a master in the art of mid-race taunting and post-race scuffles. Then again, such hotheaded antics have occasionally backfired, most notably in Busch’s feud with Jimmy Spencer. The guy even beefed with his younger brother in 2007, as well as just about anybody that gets in his way. Whether it’s the long-standing feud with Tony Stewart or even Kevin Harvick, Busch seems to thrive on drama and retaliation, which has led to a turbulent career and a controversial public persona.

#7: Andy Roddick

He’s a fun-loving guy off the court, and the husband of supermodel Brooklyn Decker. But in the heat of competition, Andy Roddick could get nasty. His talent alone made him one of the more entertaining tennis stars of his day, but this A-Rod’s temper tantrums would crank the entertainment level up to 11… as long as you weren’t a line judge on the receiving end of his cutting insults. Andy’s meltdown résumé is extensive, and he’d speak with such clarity that everyone could fully understand him. To be fair, Roddick usually kept his language clean, even if it seemed like he was about to drop a few expletives. But that didn’t take anything away from the hothead quotient.

#6: Luis Suárez

A native of Uruguay and striker for FC Barcelona, this footballer will happily nutmeg his opponents, and sometimes assault them as well. While playing for Ajax in the Dutch league in 2010, Luis Suárez actually bit Otman Bakkal, which preceded subsequent bites on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and poor Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup the following year. Such behavior has led to countless apologies from Suárez, but his temper seems to reach a boiling point when the stakes are high. In fact, media personalities and fans can usually predict his hotheaded moments, and despite his high level of play, the name Luis Suárez has become synonymous with perpetual yellow – or red – cards.

#5: Nolan Ryan

As the all-time strikeout leader of Major League Baseball, this Texan was a legendary force on the mound. And Nolan Ryan wasn’t afraid to serve up some chin music to make a point, either. Emerging in the late ‘60s, he understood the unwritten rules of baseball ethics – and when somebody crossed him, they could fully expect some retribution. In August of 1993, about six weeks before Ryan tossed his final pitch, he put a thorough beating on Robin Ventura, who inexplicably charged at the legend like a raging bull. Unfortunately for Ventura, the elder statesman of the diamond took care of business one last time.

#4: Serena Williams

Arguably one of the greatest tennis players ever, Serena Williams never fails to impress with her focus and extreme passion. She’s a master of the forehand return, and once topped 128 miles per hour with a single serve. But while such an aggressive style of play has it perks, Serena’s temper can also be her downfall. Because when Serena gets heated, well, you can expect a racket to be smashed and someone to receive a proper tongue-lashing. This is all part of the Serena Williams experience, and she usually manages to bounce back. But every so often, she goes off the deep end and fails to control her hotheaded nature on the court.

#3: Ron Hextall

Truly a revolutionary goaltender thanks to his active style of play, this former Flyer and onetime Nordique and Islander went above and beyond the NHL norm. Not only did Ron Hextall fiercely guard the net and change the way his position can be played; he wasn’t afraid to stand up to his opponents either. As a result, many a suspension came his way, but with his reputation established, coaches and players knew what to expect. Playing the majority of his career with the blue-collar Philadelphia Flyers, Hextall’s most turbulent years came in the late ‘80s, when he would rack up the most penalty minutes for a goaltender in NHL history.

#2: John McEnroe

Over the course of his esteemed playing career, this legendary tennis hothead won a grand total of seven Grand Slam singles titles. And while some modern tennis players often seem like they’re performing during a meltdown, John McEnroe went nuclear time and time again. He’d hurl insults at line judges, he produced some of the more creative racket smashes ever seen, and he’d even yell a few curse words when the time felt right. There was no predicting what Johnny Mac would do, and given his facial expressions and body behavior, it seemed like even he didn’t know what to expect.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Patrick Roy

- Sean Avery

- Vinnie Jones

#1: Mike Tyson

In the sporting world, some athletes try to intimidate while others are naturally terrifying. In the mid-1980s, Mike Tyson struck fear into the hearts of opponents through his size, technique and monster uppercuts. But as Tyson’s career progressed, his temperament utterly destroyed his momentum. Looking back, it’s easy to laugh at some of Iron Mike’s more bizarre moments, but when he bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s right ear in 1997, Tyson set a new standard for outlandish behavior among hotheaded athletes. Once known as the “Baddest Man on the Planet,” Tyson’s unpredictable behavior sold tickets but ultimately tarnished his legacy as well.

Do you agree with our list? Which athlete do you think is the most hotheaded? For more explosive Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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