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Shockwaves spread through the NBA on October 16 when the Miami Heat announced that their star center, Alonzo Mourning, had been diagnosed with kidney disease and would be not be playing this season. Mourning is not the first NBA player to succumb to focal glomerulosclerosis, a disease that impairs the kidneys’ ability to properly filter the blood. It’s the same condition that recently sidelined the San Antonio Spurs’ Sean Elliott. Mourning’s diagnosis caught everyone by surprise, coming in the wake of ‘Zo’s ultimate summer vacation in Sydney.

Mourning shone at the Olympics, and the six-foot ten-inch center matured in the public eye, evolving from the foul-mouthed NBA bad boy of yore into a lovable husband and father. ‘Zo finally revealed his soft side, undertaking an exhausting marathon journey from Sydney to Miami at the height of the games, determined to attend the birth of his daughter. Returning to Sydney in time to win the gold for the U.S., Mourning, the proud papa, was living life to its fullest. At first, doctors thought he was just tired and worn out from all that heroism, but tests soon proved otherwise.

The diagnosis has profound implications for both the Miami Heat and the entire NBA Eastern Conference. The Heat have built their team around Mourning, bulking up their roster with off-season trades to complement their dominant man in the middle. If you pull Mourning out of the lineup, the strongest team in the East collapses in on itself. Suddenly, the race for the Eastern Conference Championship is wide open again.

Mirrored in the Sky

This predicament is mirrored within the current transits to Mourning’s birth chart. Alonzo Mourning is an Aquarius, born on February 8, 1970, in Chesapeake, VA. Currently, Uranus, the planet of the unexpected, ruling shocking developments and all manner of surprises, has been transiting back and forth over Mourning’s Aquarius Sun. Uranus does tend to strike like a bolt out of the blue, changing everything it touches. Its radical influence shatters the status quo and breaks up established routines. Uranus can hit right where we are most resistant to change, and the challenge of picking up the scattered pieces and starting anew brings out the genius within. This particular Uranus transit has shaken both Mourning, and his team, to the core.

The Sun at the Center

The Sun in astrology is a lot like a center on a basketball team. He’s the big man in the middle of all the action. Ideally, a good center is a team leader who dominates the goal. He should be strong, forceful and intimidating, but also needs to share the ball with his teammates and contribute to a balanced attack. The Sun in an individual’s birth chart plays much the same role. It is the central, integrating factor, whose gravity and power draws all the other components of the personality together into a game plan. A strong Sun is the CEO of an integrated personality. A weak Sun, like a weak center, is selfish and unfocused, leading the team into chaos.

The Sun rules, or is most at home in, the sign Leo, a sign known for its strong personality and leadership. It’s not surprising that many famous centers are Leos, like Wilt Chamberlain, Pat Ewing, David Robinson, Walt Bellamy, Nate Thurmond and Rik Smits.

Aquarius, Mourning’s Sun sign, is the opposite sign of Leo. Signs that oppose each other in the zodiac share much in common, but they tend to express themselves in completely opposite, or complementary ways. Aquarius and Leo are like two poles of the same magnet, both strong and stubborn, with similar talents and leadership qualities. Aquarius, an air sign, is more diffuse and sociable than Leo; Aquarius is a king with a common touch, like Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan. In medical astrology, while Leo is traditionally associated with the heart, Aquarius rules the circulation and the blood flow, providing a perfect example of how interrelated these two signs really are.

The transit of unpredictable Uranus over Mourning’s Aquarius Sun has coincided with the onset of a disease that has temporarily derailed his life’s purpose, and shattered his team’s prospects. Oddly enough, the Spurs’ Sean Elliott is also an Aquarius, born February 2, 1968, in Tucson, Arizona. Transiting Uranus was also moving back and forth over Elliott’s Aquarius Sun during 1999 when he was forced out of the Spurs lineup with the same disease. He eventually suffered kidney failure and received a kidney transplant in August 1999, under the influence of the same transit.

While the kidneys are traditionally ruled by the sign Libra, they cleanse the circulatory system by filtering impurities from the blood. That is precisely the function that focal glomerulosclerosis attacks. While two cases hardly constitute any kind of proof, it is still a striking example of the relationship between the sign Aquarius and the human circulatory system.

Meanwhile, Sean Elliott has served as a striking example of the triumph of the human spirit. Returning to practice a mere six months after his kidney transplant, he was back in the game on March 14, 2000. After a successful training camp, he has been cleared to play for the upcoming season, to the delight of his teammates and fans. Alonzo Mourning is one tough competitor, and the odds-on favorite to win against this disease. Let’s hope both the fans and his kids can see him back in the center of the action soon.



Courtney Roberts, M.A.,is a writer, teacher, and consultant, originally from Miami, FL. Her work reflects a unique perspective: a real passion for the 'big picture' that combines cosmology, religious studies and history with a lifetime of observing the dynamic interaction of spirit and cosmos.

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