York is a tough town for losers. The Knicks know this all too well,
and they are built to win. Since 1946, the Knickerbockers have held
court at Madison Square Garden, sharing with the Boston Celtics
the honor of being the oldest team in the NBA, while building a
winning tradition as proud and fabled as any in the game.
recent years, the team has cultivated a select roster of staggering
talent and ability—big names who consistently put up big numbers
in a big way: Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Latrell Sprewell, Allan
Houston, Marcus Camby, Charlie Ward, Chris Childs and then some.
As the reigning Eastern Conference Champions, and right on target
to repeat, you would hardly suspect that the deadliest weapon in
their arsenal is that skinny little bald guy in the suit on the
five foot nine and 150 pounds, Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t
exactly cut an imposing courtside figure. In fact, with his clipboard
and comb-over, he could make Bill Gates look macho in comparison.
But looks can be deceiving, because underneath that mild-mannered
exterior lurks an opponent’s worst nightmare—a basketball genius!
Born January 19, 1962 at 12:23 am PST, in Hemet, California, Van
Gundy is a “Super Capricorn,” a born leader, seasoned workaholic,
tenacious strategist and a force to be reckoned with! Aspiring to
coach in the NBA all his life, he achieved that lofty goal in 1996
at the remarkably young age of 34.
from a basketball family, Van Gundy really was born to coach.
His father is a long-time college coach and his brother Stan
is an assistant coach with the Knicks’ arch rival, the Miami
Heat. His chart reveals a stellium (group) of planets in Capricorn
and Aquarius, all clustered about the cusp of the Fourth House.
The Fourth House is the area of the chart associated with family
and roots, and with the Fourth sign, Cancer. It is linked by
opposition (180 degrees) to the Tenth House of career and social
standing, which is also the house associated with the Tenth
sign, Capricorn. With so much emphasis in Van Gundy’s chart
on the Fourth and Tenth Houses, and the signs Capricorn and
Cancer, this theme of the intermingling of career and family
is repeated throughout his life.
in marked contrast at seven feet and 255 pounds is the Knick’s legendary
center, Patrick Ewing. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica on August
5, 1962, the same year as his coach. Now in his thirteenth pro season
and on the rebound from a devastating ankle injury, his numbers
are down, but he still leaves a lot of teams wishing he would act
his age. Leo seems like a natural sign for a basketball center,
the big man in the middle of all the action. Wilt
Chamberlain, one of the greatest centers ever, was
a Leo, as is David Robinson of the Spurs.
durability and inspirational leadership have kept him in the
spotlight all these years, winning the respect and love of those
demanding New York fans, but never winning an NBA Championship.
While Ewing has turned in an all-star performance at center
season after season, it’s almost as if that championship team
has never quite jelled around him. This predicament is outlined
in his chart in the opposition of Saturn and the Moon’s South
Node in Aquarius to his Sun in Leo. Leo, the sign of kings,
usually represents the leader, the champ or the star. The opposite
sign, Aquarius, serves a complementary function, representing
groups like teams, congresses, unions or audiences who either
need, or rebel against, a leader.
restrictive influence of Saturn in Aquarius on Ewing’s career
was especially apparent last season. After playing a pivotal
leadership role in the players’ union during the strike, his
Knicks made it all the way to the NBA finals. However, Ewing
was sidelined with a devastating ankle injury. He had to watch
from the bench as the San Antonio Spurs’ “Twin Towers” combination
of David Robinson and Tim Duncan at center dominated the championship
series. Every sign of the zodiac is associated with a part of
the body, and Aquarius is traditionally linked to the ankles.
The old taskmaster Saturn really had some hard lessons in store
for this aging warrior. Even if Ewing never wins a championship
ring, his place in basketball history is assured, because he
was named to the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.
Virgo Problem Child
us contemplate the mystery that is Latrell Sprewell: Coach choker
or misunderstood perfectionist? You be the judge.
September 8, 1970, in Milwaukee, this not-so-gentle Virgo was thrown
out of the league on December 3, 1997 for assaulting then Golden
State coach P. J. Carlesimo, only to be reinstated by arbitration
the following spring. Sprewell has an explosive combination of planets
in Virgo and Scorpio, making him a bit testy, but far from stupid.
A Knick since January, 1999, his playing led the team to their finals
appearance and meltdown against the superior San Antonio Spurs,
in Ewing’s absence. All of which proves that, while hardly a model
citizen, he is one fine basketball player, and, to his credit, hasn’t
choked anyone for some time now. There exists a certain sympathy
between a hard case like Sprewell and the hard-core New York fans.
The problem child has found a home, at least for now.
into the playoffs, the Knicks are battling the hated Miami Heat
for the number one spot in the Atlantic division. With the Indiana
Pacers leading the East, we are assured of some high drama in the
coming weeks. Whether we’ll see Spike Lee taunting Reggie Miller
courtside, or another rumble with Pat Riley, the New York Knicks
will continue their proud basketball tradition in the Garden—a very
tough team for a tough town.