Houston Rockets guard, James Harden, has so far been having a stellar MVP race. The 27-year-old NBA star is on top form, scoring widely and topping the league in brilliant rebounds and assists. But there's only one major change in Harden's life that could explain the boost in his performance. He's no longer dating Khloe Kardashian.

James Harden renewed focus after break-up

On Tuesday, sports illustrated published a hard-hitting one-on-one interview with the five-time All-Star. His relationship with the reality-TV star lasted for about 8 months, overlapping the course of last season. The Kardashians are known for high drama and sensationalist intrigue, a requirement for ratings and show longevity.

Harden described the atmosphere in the Kardashian home as circus-like, adding that he was only able to focus on his own career if he totally eliminated Khloe from his space. Not only was it necessary for his own focus on the season, but also for the benefit of his team.

Furthermore, Harden claims that he was unable to cope with the constant attention the couple received due to Khloe's high-profile in the tabloid industry. For Harden, the attention felt empty and he couldn't understand why there was such a major interest in their personal life.

Now that the drama is all behind him he says he's able to return all of his focus to his performance, a likely explanation for the success he's enjoyed so far this year.

So what did Khloe have to say?

Khloe is well-known for dating basketball players, particularly stars of the NBA. In keeping with this record, she has already moved on and is now in a relationship with Cleveland Cavaliers center/power forward Tristan Thompson.

According to a Kardashian insider, who jumped to defend the star, Khloe did not take the Sports Illustrated feature well.

The insider said that Harden was only making himself look bad by trashing Khloe, and that the NBA player is probably upset because his ex-girlfriend allegedly stopped answering his calls when she moved on with Thompson. The insider continued by slamming Harden as someone who was bitter and bruised, and added that there was no chance of the two ever getting back together.

As far as James Harden is concerned, the chance of a reunion has been totally eliminated, and his incredible current season performance is all the motivation he needs to know that he made the right decision.

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