Khloe Kardashian, James Harden


As Khloe Kardashian already knew, that NBA lifestyle isn't always conducive to balanced personal relationships.

The 31-year-old star and her basketball star boyfriend James Harden have broken up, the long distance ultimately getting to them the way it has gotten to so many couples—famous and otherwise—before.

Over the course of their approximately eight-month relationship, they had some loftily romantic times together, including the yacht party Kardashian threw for Harden's 26th birthday last summer and their VIP trips to Las Vegas. But they also only spent a small fraction of that time in the same state, let alone the same city. Because once basketball season began...

Khloe Kardashian, James Harden

Splash News

"They just barely saw each other the past few months and it died out," a source explained to E! News. And if it seems sudden that, after all they went through the last few months, they would just split up over distance...

Well, we can't be that shocked. And Khloe shouldn't feel too bad. She gave it a go, but it is just damn difficult to date a professional athlete.

That angsty time spent apart is a fact of life for almost all celebrity couples, with many resorting to the "two week rule" or other made-up law requiring time spent together so they don't go crazy. But a pro athlete, particularly a NBA player, is a whole other genre of boyfriend.

Khloe Kardashian, James Harden

Cassy Athena / London Ent / Splash News

It's like dating a rock-star-times-10. Their travel schedule is crazy; they often don't even live full-time in the city where their team is (though Harden is from Los Angeles, so that was actually a check in the make-it-work box for him and Khloe); the on-the-road temptations are ridiculous, even when they don't indulge; and they have to devote 100 percent of their energy to training, staying in shape and playing the game.

Or they should. And the pressure is tenfold on Harden, who is generally considered the best player on the Houston Rockets and who gets blamed when the team is down. And they started way down this season and are hobbling toward the All-Star break with an underwhelming 27-26 record (that's likely to be 27-27 after they play the Warriors tonight).

James Harden

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Harden is averaging a team-high 27.8 points (also a career high) and 7 assists per game—but rest assured he isn't having a career year because he's been splitting his focus between basketball and Khloe.

You can't really fault him for that, since that's his job, but Khloe certainly deserves a guy who's in it to win it with her. And it's not as if she didn't have to spend the last half of her relationship with Harden splitting her energies between him, her book launch, her new show and being there for Lamar Odom as much as possible throughout his ongoing recovery.

Khloe Kardashian, James Harden

Plus, Harden is 26 and in the prime of his career, and if these guys aren't settled down with a family by the time their pro career takes off (though that's no guarantee of an easy-breezy personal life, either), it is just difficult to devote the sort of time that's necessary to nurturing an off-court relationship.

Moreover, timing is everything.

Khloe need look no further than to Kim Kardashian, who before realizing that she and Kanye West were meant to be tried to make it work with NFL star Reggie Bush (who was just testing the superstar waters) and NBA player Kris Humphries (who ultimately could only handle basketball and nothing else).

There's a reason why more than half of the so-called Basketball Wives are actually exes. It's absolutely hit and miss when it comes to dating an athlete (swish or air-ball if you will, though more often it's an ugly clank off the rim).

Carmelo Anthony, Lala Anthony

Tyra Banks dated NBA star Chris Webber for a few years in the mid-00s, but he didn't tie the knot with wife Erika until the year after he retired. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has a family now but he wasn't ready to prime time while he was dating Jessica Simpson, allowing her the chance to settle down with her actual destined mate, retired NFL player Eric Johnson

Irina Shayk and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo juggled their relationship with the respective globetrotting demands on their time for five years, but ultimately...It just got too hard. Golfer Rory McIlroy didn't realize he wasn't ready to wed tennis star Caroline Wozniacki until their wedding invitations had been sent out!

Cristiano Ronaldo, Irina Shayk


Besides, even if the relationships do go the distance, all the way to the altar, that doesn't mean it all of a sudden gets easy. Not long before their wedding, Gabrielle Union found out Dwyane Wade had fathered a child while they were on a break. Kardashian pal La La Anthony and hubby Carmelo Anthony have had to duck rumors of major marital discord, and Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett went through, er, some stuff when he retired from the NFL.

Even the sports golden couple, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, have acknowledged that they hit a major rough patch during the Deflategate portion of Brady's illustrious career—and Gisele recently revealed that she had just started dating Brady when she found out his ex Bridget Moynahan was pregnant with his child, and the supermodel had to decide yea or nay on the whole thing.

And she's Gisele!

It would almost be weird if someone found it easy to be with an athlete. So, Khloe gave dating James Harden a good try, they had fun, and here's hoping she got the support she needed while she rebounded from her troubles with Lamar. But next time, perhaps she'll find a guy whose main goal has nothing to do with goals, baskets, hits, touchdowns or points. And a short freeway ride away would be nice.

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