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SIOUX CITY | He was the consummate gym rat, tagging along with his dad to all of those West High basketball practices, soaking up knowledge like a sponge, and honing his emerging skills one dribble and one shot at a time.
Jim Hinrich, head coach of the West boys team, had been a talented player in his own right, starring at old Central High and then Briar Cliff College.
There was no telling, really, how far the game might take his son, Kirk. And, even as the ceiling on those expectations just continued to rise, the skeptics were certainly numerous and outspoken.
They doubted what he might accomplish at West, even as he helped the Wolverines reach four state tournaments in a row and win Sioux City’s first state basketball title in 65 years.
They also doubted he was equal to the challenge Roy Williams handed him at Kansas University, where Hinrich started four seasons, culminating in two Final Fours and a national runner-up finish in 2003 (an 81-78 loss to Syracuse).
The seventh pick in a star-studded 2003 NBA draft that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Hinrich wound up with the Chicago Bulls, where he became known as “Captain Kirk.’’
After a two-year detour took him to Washington and Atlanta, he returned to Chicago in 2012-13 and is entering his 12th NBA season and his 10th season overall with the Bulls.
A suburban Chicago resident since early in his NBA career, Hinrich’s first 11 seasons in the league have reaped nearly $66.1 million in salaries, according to Basketball-Reference.com. A two-year contract extension he signed in July will increase his earnings to almost $71.7 million.
Kirk, whose mother, Nancy, was a longtime Sioux City teacher and coach, was married July 7, 2007, to his high school sweetheart, the former Jill Fisher, a state long jump champion and volleyball star at Bishop Heelan.
The couple now has four children with the arrival Sept. 12 of twins, a boy and a girl, to join daughters Kenzie, 6, and Kyla, 3.