It’s been nearly 11 years since Kirk Hinrich was first drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 2003 NBA Draft. During that time, Hinrich spent his first seven seasons as a Bull until being traded to the Washington Wizards in the summer of 2010. Two years later, he returned to the Windy City and signed with the Bulls as a free agent.
Jan. 2, 2014 marks Hinrich’s 33rd birthday. To celebrate, here are some of Captain Kirk’s most memorable moments as a Bull. Happy birthday, Kirk!
First triple-double: On Feb. 28, 2004, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Golden State Warriors 87-81 at the United Center. The victory featured Hinrich posting a triple-double of 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. It was the only triple-double from a rookie that season. Take note that LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were also rookies at this time.
Dunk against Cleveland: Bulls fans are aware Hinrich isn’t a flashy player. He’s known for his defense, playmaking ability and his tough demeanor. When he gets out into the open court, he never dunks. He always goes for the layup. There was a time, though, when Hinrich would dunk. On March 1, 2004, Hinrich led Chicago to a 92-81 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Two of his 22 points came off a dunk in which he drove past LeBron James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas for the one-handed slam.
That’s enough, Rajon Rondo: The first round playoff series between the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics in 2009 is undoubtedly one of the best ever, if not the best. One of the many highlights of the series comes from Rajon Rondo’s dirty antics leading to Hinrich’s retaliation.
Threes for the record books: This one’s simple. Although Hinrich isn’t solely known for his ability to knock down the outside shot, nearly seven seasons in Chicago was enough to make history. On Feb. 20, 2010, Captain Kirk made history by becoming the all-time leader in three-point field goals made for the Chicago Bulls franchise, passing former Bulls teammate Ben Gordon’s 770 made threes. Hinrich stills owns the record with 908 three-pointers.
Captain Kirk saves the day: Marco Belinelli was the final hero in the Bulls’ 100-99 overtime win over the Celtics on Jan. 18, 2013. However, if it weren’t for Hinrich, Chicago would have taken an 88-86 loss in Beantown, and Belinelli would simply have just ended the game with a turnover. Hinrich picked up the loose ball for the wide-open jumper to force overtime.
Streakbusters – Part One: On March 27, 2013, the Miami Heat came into Chicago with a 27-game winning streak on the line. The Bulls would go on to take the 101-97 win to end the Heat’s streak with their tough defense and physical style of play. Hinrich helped set the tempo in the first quarter by taking down LeBron James on a fast break. Who else can say they’ve done that?
Streakbusters – Part Two: Hinrich helped capture the streak-ending victory for Chicago with a key steal late in the fourth quarter. Chris Bosh may have grabbed the offensive rebound for the Heat, but Hinrich’s determined attitude allowed led to him ripping the ball right out of his hands.