Phoenix Suns just won’t go down. No strangers to the rain, they’ve
survived an “ER” episode of a regular season, beating back injuries
and illness to win their way into the first round of the NBA playoffs.
There they will face the reigning champions, the San Antonio Spurs—a
very tough assignment. Let’s take a look at some of the stellar
influences behind this gutsy group of guys who simpy refuse to lose.
team’s future looked bright enough back in November. The Suns built
up the backcourt in the off season, rattling the nerves of future
opponents by signing former Orlando Magician Penny Hardaway to join
Jason Kidd at guard duty. But Chapter One of the Suns’ soap opera
began last December, when then Head Coach Danny Ainge abruptly resigned
to “spend more time with his family.” We all know what that means!
Actually, it means he wanted to spend more time with his rather
large family, and it was a brave gesture in its own way, although
certainly confusing for the team.
Searching for a new center for their solar system, the Suns turned
to assistant coach Scott Skiles, and a star was born! The fateful
promotion not only made Skiles the youngest (interim) head coach
in the league, but also unleashed his unique talents in a new and
March 5, 1964, in LaPorte, Indiana, Skiles spent ten years as a
player in the league, earning a reputation as a consummate point
guard. His best years were spent on the Orlando Magic squad, where
he won the NBA’s 1991 Most Improved Player award, and set a league
record for the most assists in a single game (30). His career free
throw percentage (.889) ranks fourth in NBA history. Not bad for
a Pisces, but Skiles is no ordinary Pisces.
most distinctive aspect of both Skiles’s chart and his personality
is the Sun-Mars conjunction. Deep in his core there burns a very
special fire, for he radiates this compelling, uplifting and highly
competitive energy. At a mere 6 foot 1, he more than compensates
with attitude for what he lacks in altitude. The Sun-Mars conjunction
doesn’t stand alone, because it is woven into a larger stellium
(group of planets) in Pisces, and opposed by a very intense Pluto
and Uranus in Virgo. The stellium creates a concentration of forces,
which is then integrated by aspects into the rest of his chart.
He’s like a one-man power station, generating his own unique brand
of alternative energy.
also has a natal Pluto-Chiron opposition in his chart that has been
under stress all season from the current (transiting) Pluto and
Chiron in Sagittarius. This seems to have introduced a theme of
healing and regeneration into his most recent exploits, because
the Suns have suffered through a tragic, almost unbelievable series
of illness and injuries this season. Shortly after the coaching
change, forward Tom Gugliotta suffered a life-threatening seizure.
He returned to play, only to shred his knee on March 10—a season-ending
injury. Undeterred, the Suns continued to win. Then, guard Rex Chapman
was stricken with appendicitis on March 18. The most crushing blow
came on March 22, when Jason Kidd, arguably the best guard in the
league, broke his ankle. But somehow, the Suns plugged the holes
and continued to win. The team has gone 39-21 under Skiles’ inspired
leadership, and his diligence was rewarded on April 18, when the
owners signed him to a five-year contract.
Kidd continues in rehab, and could possibly return to play if the
Suns make it past the Spurs in the first round. Born March 23, 1973,
at 11:22 pm PST in San Francisco, the remarkable integration of
the planetary elements in his chart is reflected in his talent and
the versatility of his game. With the Sun, Moon and Ascendant so
closely linked together, he is a purposeful young man with a distinct
sense of direction. Like Coach Skiles, the fiery Kidd also has a
Sun-Pluto opposition, which is tighly linked by aspects and integrated
into the rest of his chart. Another positive, high-energy competitor,
he appears to be making great progress in recovering from this recent
Johnson: Fan Favorite
the theme of the phoenix rising from the ashes of its demise and
in the wake of the devastating loss of Kidd, who should rise out
of retirement and come riding to the rescue but perennial fan-favorite
Kevin Johnson. This longtime Sun stalwart had been comfortably resting
on his laurels and healing his own wounds, but he answered the call
when his beloved former team was in trouble. Born March 4, 1966
at 1:43 pm PST, in Sacramento, California, Johnson also has a natal
Sun-Pluto opposition. In fact, his chart is very similar to that
of Coach Skiles, with a stellium in Pisces opposing Pluto and Uranus
in Virgo. One of the most lovable players in the league, Johnson’s
combination of Pisces Sun and Cancer rising gives him a compassionate,
easy-going demeanor which belies the drive and intensity of the
into the playoffs, the Suns have every reason to be proud. They
have already proven their ability to overcome any obstacle, and
their will to win under Scott Skiles is an inspiring example of
the power of healing and belief. The Spurs have the home court advantage
and are the favorites to win the series, but for the time being,
the sun hasn’t set on Phoenix yet.