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The 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.

The 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 heightened capacity.

No Ordinary Pisces

Born 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.

The 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.

Skiles 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.

A Purposeful Kidd

Jason 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 setback.

Kevin Johnson: Fan Favorite

Continuing 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 warrior inside.

Heading 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.



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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For more information about Courtney Roberts Conrad, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Courtney Roberts Conrad:

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