Sparkling time of year

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Nneka Ogwumike will add some hoops to her July 4 weekend when her Sparks host the Mercury on Sunday.

July is by far the best month of the year for a multitude of reasons!

Besides it being my birthday month, it signifies an incredibly important and exciting time for our country. The thrill of fireworks, tri-colored decor and our favorite picnic cuisines are all things we look forward to once July rolls around. However, they aren't close to what this time of the year represents.

The Fourth of July is a commemoration of freedom, independence and liberty. My earliest and fondest memories of the Fourth always incorporated the importance of these pillars. As a USA basketball medalist, summers always treated us well; and there was no better time than winning a gold medal that symbolized the independence July 4 brought so many centuries ago and remains until this day.

In the midst of our pridefully passionate celebrations, I do hope that we never lose sight of the true essence of unity this time of the year brings.

AND ... don't forget to tune in for some Fourth of July weekend-themed basketball on Sunday, July 6, for ESPN2's spectacular double-header. Start the patriotic day off with the Minnesota Lynx vs. the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden and end your day with a "Sparkling" game as the Phoenix Mercury take on my Los Angeles team at Staples Center.

Happy Fourth of July!