The Zodiac GM Wants Basketball Teams to Take Astrology More Seriously

Photographs: Getty Images; Collage: Gabe Conte

There are myriad reasons why NBA teams don’t gel. Clashes in playing style, age, want-to. But one thing we might be overlooking? Zodiac signs.

That’s where an anonymous Twitter user known as ZodiacGM comes in. Zodiac, as he asked to be called—he requested to keep his name and other personal details (including his own zodiac sign) private—has accrued over 13,000 followers by using astrology to analyze NBA teams. He also thinks it wouldn’t be crazy for the actual general managers to do the same. “This could be very useful for NBA teams!” he tells me over Zoom, his face hidden to protect his identity.

Zodiac has been into astrology since he was a kid, when, as a 10-year-old, he printed out extensive pages for each sign and studied the traits that make each one unique. Learning about astrology, he says, also helped him better understand his autistic, non-verbal brother. His interest in the field first crossed over with his basketball fandom in 2017, when the Houston Rockets swung a massive trade that put two very big, very disparate personalities on the same team.

“I knew James Harden was a Virgo, and then I looked up Chris Paul, he was a Taurus. And for some reason I just said to myself, ‘You know what? Those two are going to work,’” Zodiac remembers. “I was hearing the outside world, some were saying, ‘It's not going to work because they're too ball dominant.’ But in my mind I'm like, I think it's going to work. They ended up getting the number-one seed in the conference and almost beat the Warriors. At that point, I took a step back again and said, ‘You know what? Let me just put this in a spreadsheet, build a little database, have some algorithms going.’ So, this is full-blown research on my part to [try to] understand, Hey, there's got to be something there. What is it?

Just two earth signs having fun

Miami Heat v Houston Rockets

Just two earth signs having fun
Bob Levey/Getty Images

That little database now has seven years’ worth of heft, and he still maintains it, allowing him to reach a state where he “pretty much” has an encyclopedic knowledge of every player’s sign. In those early days of compiling Pisces point guards and Scorpio centers into his spreadsheets, Zodiac and his pal would watch games with the cosmic angle mostly being a little joke between them. “We could literally pick out a lineup knowing everyone's sign and be like, ‘You know what? That's going to be a good lineup.’ And sure enough, they'd go on a 10-0 run or 20-0 run. It happened way too often. Of course, it's never 100%, but a majority of the time in some form, it always panned out. We'd be like, ‘That's a bad fit.’ Then a couple weeks later, he gets traded away and [the team] will say something like, ‘Oh, he wasn't a good fit.’ See? I told you!"

What started as a personal project gained mainstream attention after many of his theories were proven correct. One of his greatest called shots thus far came on the day that Damian Lillard (a Cancer) was traded to the Bucks. Zodiac immediately pointed out that Milwaukee might be an “awkward fit for Dame” due to his water sign being a natural conflict with the team’s incumbent trio of fire signs: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Sagittarius), Khris Middleton (Leo), and Brook Lopez (Aries).

“I could get a sense of him not feeling comfortable. I saw it right off the bat,” Zodiac says of Lillard. “He's a water sign, so they absorb things a little bit differently. Naturally, they mesh better with a lot of the earth signs and water signs themselves.” As he explains, the Bucks had a much better celestial setup with ex-coach Mike Budenholzer’s fire sign (Leo) and Jrue Holiday’s air sign (Gemini) complementing Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Lopez. When embattled head coach Doc Rivers took over the Bucks mid-season, the team skittered into the All-Star break on an ugly 3-7 run. Even though Milwaukee’s overall record remains strong and they rebounded with nice road wins over Minnesota and Philadelphia coming out of the break, Zodiac has his doubts about their long-term stability.

“Talent alone can win you championships, right? But as you can tell, they're having some chemistry issues,” he notes. “Doc Rivers is compatible with Giannis, but not so much with Dame. The way I see it, that relationship between the head coach and point guard has to really be strong. That's just my opinion. We'll see how that goes.”

Lately, he’s noticed one unavoidable trend throughout the entire league: Pisces are running the show, and water signs in general have put the NBA in a chokehold. Steph Curry, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, and Jayson Tatum were all born during Pisces season. Zodiac does not think this is merely a coincidence.

“I think the reason why Pisces is a very, very strong sign is because they are the 12th sign of the Zodiac. What does that mean? They have an energy from each and every other sign. They're sort of like the chameleon. Since it's a water sign, it's sort of like go with the flow, very flexible, and in a team situation, they can adapt to certain scenarios. To a Pisces, they're going to make it happen regardless.” Unfortunately for those hoping to see a different team take possession of the Larry O’Brien trophy this summer, Zodiac sees the Nuggets and their incomparable Pisces in the paint as a perfect astrological blend.

We should all be more like the Nuggets’ cavalier king.

“When I started my research around 2017, Denver wasn't really known as an elite team, but I noticed they had a really compatible team. I found that ironic. I'm like, ‘What's up with this team?’ It just stuck with me. It wasn't until they traded for Aaron Gordon that they completed that full-blown, very elite, compatible synergy. He's a Virgo. Virgo is a mutable sign, very compatible with a Pisces, which is what Jokic is, and is what Jamal Murray is, and what KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] is.”

Of course, being an astrology fiend doesn’t just mean noticing when a coach and their best player share a rising sign. Zodiac’s fixation has bled into other aspects of his life, too. If basketball lineups rely on astrology, why wouldn’t our most important relationships?

“Especially during my dating years, I was always curious, Hey, what's your sign? Or if it didn't work out, I’d always try to learn why,” he laughs. “There's a reason why they think a certain way or view things differently. But, all signs can get along. You can even have best friends with opposite energies! The best way to look at it? They're just speaking a different language.”

Originally Appeared on GQ