Nice interview with Kirk Hinrich

In the LA Daily News, here's a sample of what you'll get if you read the whole thing.

Q: Utah coach Jerry Sloan has said you have "a John Stockton way" about you. What was the first thing that went through your mind when you heard that?

A: I was shocked. It's unbelievably flattering. Jerry Sloan, John Stockton, you admire them and how they went about the game. But I don't try to live up to those expectations because they're so great. You've got to take it as a compliment. That's about it. You don't let it go to your head and just keep doing what you're doing to get you to this point.

Q: Did you allow yourself to hope for a reserve spot on the All-Star team?

A: I don't deserve it. There are so many other guys who do. I didn't.

10 to the rafters.

Chi-town is fat...around the Bulls, whatever that means

Kirk Hinrich is suddenly receiving a lot of attention now that the Bulls aren't dusting the NBA's dirty (yet still very expensive) cellar. Indeed, everyone's talking about the Bulls these days and it's darn hard to talk about the Bulls without talking out a cagey, unassuming, tough as nails Jayhawk named Kirk Hinrich. Today, people are talking about the All-Star Game for young Kirk:

So, why couldn't the Bulls have their first All-Star since 1998 in Kirk Hinrich? [snip] Everyone's fat around the Bulls these days. Especially Hinrich, who leads the Bulls in scoring, assists, steals, three-pointers made and minutes played. He is shooting 83 percent on free throws, playing both guard positions and usually defending the opponents' tougher or bigger guard since the beginning of December. So why not, finally, a Bulls' All-Star?

What follows this quote is a rather tedious dissection of the All Star potentials besides Kirk, which calls out Paul Pierce as a "pouting, selfish shooter". In other words, it's not worth reading unless you want to hear yet another writer do all but scream at the ignorant All-Star voting public which seems to be hell-bent on making Vince Carter the guy to be voted to an All-Star team no matter what he does.

Read it if you like, but most of the red meat is above.

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.