“She’s an amazing teacher,” the 39-year-old NBA star told PEOPLE on Monday night after he was eliminated from season 28 of the ABC reality dancing competition series. “She’s like the Kobe Bryant of ballroom dances. She has two championships.”
“I made a family member,” Odom said, explaining his bond with the dancing pro. “So, I have a sister. I never had a sister before.”
When asked what he’ll be taking away from the show, Odom said that he now knows he can accomplish anything if he puts his mind to it.
“I’m a fighter. I never quit,” he said. “And I tried something new. I failed but … I learned something new about myself. It was humbling. It was humbling.”
Odom and Murgatroyd, 33, were the second couple to be eliminated from DWTS this season. The Supremes’ Mary Wilson along with pro dancer Brandon Armstrong was the first pair sent home.
Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown was also in jeopardy of elimination on Monday’s episode, though he survived the round.
Earlier in the evening, Odom and Murgatroyd performed a Viennese Waltz to Seal’s 1994 ballad, “Kiss from a Rose.”
They were eliminated after scoring just 20 out of 40 from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and guest judge Leah Remini.
Despite the low score, Odom said he believed his waltz performance was his strongest dance of the competition.
“It’s funny because I think this was my best dance,” he said. “No hard feelings. I’ll keep keeping on.”
Odom, who was previously married to Keeping Up with the Kardashian‘s star, Khloe Kardashian, said that now that his dancing days are done, he has more time to focus on other things.
“Maybe just go celebrate my book, focus on my children, maybe vacation,” he said, noting that a return to the NBA was one thing he would not be doing. “I have some free time on my hands; maybe I can focus on my public speaking? Change some lives with my story.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.