Kirk Hinrich was the quintessential Bull
When Kirk Hinrich walked into the Bulls’ practice facility as a rookie, he looked and sounded very much like a kid from Sioux City, Iowa, a small town set along the Missouri River and tucked into the northwest edge of the state. Although he was a star high school player and co-Iowa Mr. Basketball who later went on to lead the University of Kansas to the 2003 NCAA National Championship game, he often struggled with the big-city attention he got in Chicago. For his first few years he could barely look reporters in the eye during interviews, earning a reputation of being shy and quiet. He was also ribbed by teammates for his hair—best described as a sort of country/traditional cut meets Harry Potter.
Those days are long ago memories, however, as today Hinrich turns 39 years old. He married his high school sweetheart Jill Fisher in 2007, and together they have four children—three girls and a boy.
Though he still has a soft country twang, Hinrich, whom the Bulls selected with the 7th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, played 13 seasons in the NBA (11 with Chicago, and parts of two others with Washington and Atlanta). Only franchise icons Michael Jordan (930) and Scottie Pippen (856) played more games with the Bulls than Hinrich (748). However, one franchise record Hinrich holds over both Jordan and Pippen is most 3-pointers by a Bulls player. The crafty guard knocked down 1,049 treys while wearing a Chicago uniform compared to 644 by Pippen (3rd) and 555 by Jordan (4th). Hinrich’s old backcourt mate, Ben Gordon, sits 2nd with 770 triples.
“Captain Kirk” carried all of the characteristics Chicago fans demand from their players: blue collar, hardworking, tough-minded and selfless. He was also one of the best defenders in the league, and in 2007 he was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive 2nd Team. The 6’4”, 190-pound combo guard filled a number of roles while playing for the Bulls and that’s why he was so valuable and popular with the fans.
“When I got to Chicago my rookie year, we were a long ways from being a playoff team,” remembers Hinrich. “We worked really hard for a long time to position ourselves to win, and then after we were able to draft Joakim Noah and then Derrick Rose we felt we were going to take that next step, but unfortunately it just never happened.”
During Kirk Hinrich’s Bulls career, Chicago made the playoffs eight times in eleven seasons. He appeared in 53 playoff games and boasts playoffs career averages of 12.2 points per game, 4.8 assists, and 2.9 rebounds while playing 31.5 minutes a game.