10 to the Rafters / The New York Times on Kirk

An aside before I begin this post: Kirk Hinrich's jersey needs to be retired at KU. Mainly, I think because of stereotypes associated with shocky-haired Iowa white kids, he didn't receive the national heraldry required to fulfill our current jersey retirement criteria. Given that this criteria is essentially subjective anyway, there certainly needs to be a subjective override process which will allow a player as transcendent as Kirk to be honored as he should be. Today begins the "10 to the Rafters" campaign. We as KU fans will speak our collective voice to make sure that Kirk's number 10 hangs in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse, where it should be.

I'm getting married this week, so it will be a few weeks before I can do anything with the newly registered 10 to the Rafters domain, but if you think this is a good idea, or you would like to help champion this campaign in any way, via PR advice, technical assistance or simply by spreading the word, please go here and leave a comment.

If you need inspiration, read this great article on Kirk, about how he has been the prime mover behind the Bull's emergence this season. Login if you don't have an NYT account: yannisr, password: psolaras.

Here's an excerpt:

Last Wednesday, the Bulls walloped Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers, 110-78. "Coming into the game," Iverson said, "you don't expect those guys to beat you by 30 points." But there it was, like turning a corner and walking into a wall, with Hinrich scoring 16 points and adding 9 assists, playing his routinely tough defense. The Bulls lead the N.B.A. in lowest shooting percentage by opponents, at 41 percent, and Hinrich has controlled the team with a mastery that has been compared to Steve Nash, John Stockton and Jerry Sloan.

And here the story refers back to one of his teammate's first impression that Kirk was 'soft' and 'breakable'.

As for being "breakable," Skiles said of Hinrich: "He can take contact. He's played through everything - hands cut, ankle sprain, big thigh bruises, charley horses. The only time he sits down is when I tell him to."

As for soft, Hinrich read Johnson's remarks, and what Johnson added: "Once we started playing, he was a master of that pick-and-roll, man. I had respect for him after that. He's a white guy on the court, so people go after him. He's got a lot of guts, a lot of heart."

Read the whole thing, and let me know if the login doesn't work.