Hinrich was exposed to basketball at an early age because his father was a successful high school coach in Sioux City. In college, Kirk Hinrich played for the University of Kansas, helping his team reach the Final Four in the NCAA basketball tournament in 2002 and 2003. He played at the University of Kansas for four years before moving on to the NBA.
Hinrich was selected by Chicago in the 2003 NBA Draft with the seventh overall pick, resulting in mild surprise because many had expected him to be picked lower. Some doubted that his college game would translate successfully to the professional league, in part because he played shooting guard his final two years in college, but is considered too small to play that position competitively. Hinrich met with misfortune when he suffered an acute viral infection shortly before the beginning of his rookie season, requiring months to fully recover. However, he played well after his recovery, showing an impressive grasp of fundamental skills, solid playmaking, leadership, and a surprising defensive intensity. He solidified his position as the Bulls' starting point guard and was named to the NBA's 2004 All-Rookie first team. He held the distinction for being the only rookie during that season to record a triple-double, with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists versus the Golden State Warriors on February 28, 2004.
In his rookie season (2003-04), Hinrich's shot accuracy inside the three-point line (38.6 percent on field goals) was actually poorer than from behind it (39.0 percent on three-pointers). His field goal percentage has since gone up though (41%), although his three point shooting has gone down (35%) as of the 2005-2006 season. Hinrich has been a very good free throw shooter as well, shooting at 80.5 percent career average.
Hinrich is currently averaging 15.8 PPG, a team-high 6.3 APG, and 3.5 RPG. He is also the only member of the Bulls to average more than one steal in the 2005-2006 season.
Hinrich was originally cast as one of the players on the Texas Western College squad in the Disney movie Glory Road, but had to drop out due to his basketball schedule.
Hinrich originally committed to play basketball at Iowa State. When Iowa State coach Tim Floyd took the head coaching position for the NBA's Chicago Bulls, Hinrich changed his mind and attended Kansas.