(TMZ) Vanessa Bryant claims she's not a shallow gold-digging, championship-hoarding basketball wife ... insisting she would have married Kobe Bryant even if he NEVER won an NBA title.
Bryant is finally responding to critics who skewered her for the interview she did with New York Magazine in which she said, "I certainly would not want to be married to somebody that can't win championships."
Now, Vanessa tells TMZ ... "I'm sad to hear that comments in my New York Magazine interview are being misconstrued and taken out of context. I have and will continue to support my husband’s dreams."
Vanessa continues, "I have been with Kobe for 13 years. I accepted his marriage proposal PRIOR to him winning any of his 5 championships with his teammates."
"For anyone to think otherwise is wrong. It is not about being married to a ‘winner’ it is about our sacrifice as a family. “
FYI -- Kobe and Vanessa got engaged in May 2000 ... and he won his first championship in June of 2000.