It's not over 'til it's over. Lamar Odom is still holding out hope that things will work out between him and his estranged wife, Khloe Kardashian. In an exclusive interview with Us Weekly after a Feb. 21 press conference for his new team, Baskonia (a.k.a. Laboral Kutxa), the basketball player said Kardashian would "always" be his wife, even if they divorce -- which he's hoping doesn't happen. See more recent photos of Khloe here.
"I love my wife. She'll always be my wife, no matter what," Odom, 34, told Us of Kardashian, 29, who filed for divorce in December after four years of marriage. "Who knows? We don't know exactly if [the divorce is going through]. Only time will tell. I hope not. But even if we were divorced, she would always be my wife."
The athlete went on to say that marrying the reality star was one of the greatest things he'd ever done. "Those were some of the best years of my life," he shared. "Being married and being married to a woman I decided to marry was, besides having children, the most important thing in my life." (The star has two kids from a previous relationship.)
Odom, who struggled with infidelity and drug abuse during their marriage, is the first to admit he's not perfect. "We all have regrets, but the thing is to learn from life. There's no one in this room, no one in this world who can say, 'I'm mistake-free, I have made no mistakes,'" he told Us. "If you can introduce me to that person, please introduce me to that person. Let me meet him and speak to him."
"I won a sixth Man of the Year award while I shot [our reality] show -- people forget that," he added. "I think it's easy for people to say, 'Because you do this, you must be this kind of person, vain or uptight or meant to people.' People have a sense of who you may be because of the job you do. That's unfair judgement," he continued.
"I think we prejudge a little bit too much these days because there's so much access to everything about the world. It's easy for us to look at a YouTube video or a program that doesn't turn off and say, 'This guy must be this way,'" he explained. "I understand how powerful TV is, but there's nothing I would do different."
For the moment, Odom is focused on getting back to his passion for basketball. "This is the love of the game for Lamar," he explained of his contract with Laboral Kutxa, for whom he'll wear the number seven. "I've got a winner mentality, the mentality of a champion."
"I feel good and every day I'm getting closer to closer to being on the court, but it's a work in progress," he added during the press conference at the Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria. "I've been away from the game for a little bit, but it's going to take some time and I have to be patient. When me and coach Sergio and the organization get together and think it's the right time [to be on the court], that will be the right time."
Additional reporting by Gerard Couzens.