LaMelo Ball Rookie Card Guide and Checklist

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Entering the 2020-21 season, there was little doubt that every LaMelo Ball Rookie Card, autograph, insert and everywhere in between was going to get a lot of attention.

Although he was taken third in the draft behind Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman, there was more collector intrigue behind Ball. And through the first half of his rookie campaign, the point guard proved to be not only a great playmaker but an almost nightly highlight reel. Ball is clearly a player to watch and is creating some buzz for the Charlotte Hornets, a franchise that hasn’t had some major hobby sting in a long time.

A wrist injury caused Ball to missed a chunk of time towards the end of his first season. It didn’t derail things much as the guard still walked away with Rookie of the Year honors.

His strong play has continued into his sophomore year as Ball continues to show signs of flash and the makings of a superstar.

The First LaMelo Ball Cards

LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards are in 2020-21 basketball sets, but they’re not his first cards. Leaf released several cards of him as far back as 2018 — including autographs.

They create a unique situation seldom seen in basketball. Pre-dating his first NBA cards by a couple of years adds a level of intrigue. And for many, especially the autographs, they’ve continued to draw strong prices even as NBA signatures start to hit the market.

2018 Leaf Metal Draft Blue LaMelo Ball Autograph

LaMelo Ball Rookie Card Guide

This list only includes base cards with the RC tag in the Beckett database. Inserts and parallels are not. A full checklist of LaMelo Ball cards is available here. More cards will be added in the months ahead as new sets release. Cards are listed alphabetically.

2020-21 Absolute Memorabilia LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #12

A lot of the focus in 2020-21 Absolute Memorabilia is autographs and, obviously, memorabilia. Ball has both of those on the checklist, but there’s also this foil base card. Although not numbered, don’t expect to find it in too much bulk as the product doesn’t have a lot of base cards per box.

Parallels: Dollar Tree, Red (/199), Blue (/99), Orange (/75), Teal (/49), Purple (/25), Gold (/10), Green (/5), Black (1/1)

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2020-21 Certified LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #198

2020-21 Certified Basketball offers a foil take on Ball. It’s not an extremely high-end card, but the shiny stock gives it a little flair. It’s among the Mirror parallels where things really start to pop.

Parallels: Mirror Blue, Mirror Red, Mirror Orange (/99), Mirror Camo (/25), Mirror Gold (/10), Mirror Green (/5), Mirror Black (1/1)

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2020-21 Clearly Donruss LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #87

2020-21 Clearly Donruss Basketball takes the design of the year’s major Donruss set but makes one major change — everything is done on acetate. That gives Ball’s RC a see-through appearance. The plastic stock is also more upscale. Further differentiating it is the fact that the photo is also different so it doesn’t look too much like a parallel.

Parallels: Gold, Holo Mosaic, Purple, Blue (/99), Red (/49), Green (/25), Holo Silver (/10), Gold (/5), Holo Platinum (1/1)

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2020-21 Clearly Donruss LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Court Kings LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #97

Spinning out of the painted Diamond Kings subset that began in the early ’80s, 2020-21 Panini Court Kings brings some artistic flair. This LaMelo Ball Rookie Card doesn’t have any parallels. However, he does have three additional cards in the base set (#130, #163, #196), each with a completely different design and increasingly rarity.

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2020-21 Crown Royale LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #79

Is there a reason why the crown is die-cut? Outside of looking cool, not really. There’s also tradition with the Crown Royale brand finding its roots in the late 1990s as a Pacific Trading Cards brand. For a card that isn’t numbered or carry an autograph, the 2020-21 Crown Royale Basketball LaMelo Ball RC doesn’t scream high-end, but it’s not available in nearly the same numbers as some of his more common Rookies.

Parallels: Asia Gold, Asia Red, Crystal, Blue Crystal (/99), Red Crystal (/49), Purple Crystal (/25), Green Crystal (/21), Gold Crystal (/10), Lucky Envelopes (/8), Black Crystal (/4), Platinum Crystal (1/1)

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2020-21 Donruss LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #202

Boasting the Rated Rookie seal of approval and coming from a well known flagship-style line, this is one of the key LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards among the year’s early releases. Similar to Hoops and Prizm, print run doesn’t matter too much as Donruss has a fairly wide appeal and notoriety.

Parallels: Choice, Green Flood, Holo Green Laser, Holo Green and Yellow Laser, Holo Light Blue Laser, Holo Orange Laser, Holo Red and Gold Laser, Yellow Flood, Press Proof Silver (/349), Press Proof Purple (/199), Choice Red (/99), Holo Purple Laser (/99), Choice Blue (/49), Holo Blue Laser (/49), Holo Yellow Laser (/25), Holo Red and Blue Laser (/15), Choice Gold (/10), Holo Gold Laser (/10), Choice Black Gold (/8), Choice Black (1/1), Holo Black Laser (1/1)

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2020-21 Donruss LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Donruss Optic LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #153

This is the third LaMelo Ball Rookie Card boasting the Donruss design. However, for 2020-21 Donruss Optic, it’s done with chromium. That means a couple of things. For starters, the metallic look is shiny, putting it in line with Prizm, Select and Mosaic. It also means lots of colorful parallels to chase, some relatively common and others on the scarce side of unicorn hunting. Optic is one of the 2020-21 products with a wide presence at both the hobby and retail levels.

Parallels: Blue Pulsar, Blue Velocity, Checkerboard, Choice, Dragon Choice, Fanatics Box Set, Fanatics Green Pulsar, Gold Wave, Holo, Holo Fast Break, Hyper Pink, Photon, Purple, Purple Shock, Red and Green Choice, Red Pulsar, Red Wave, Target Box Set, Target Purple Pulsar, Premium Box Set (/249), Orange (/199), Lime Green (/149), Red (/99), Purple Fast Break (/95), Red Choice (/88), Red Fast Break (/85), Pink Velocity (/79), Blue (/59), Blue Fast Break (/50), Black Velocity (/39), Pink (/25), Pink Fast Break (/20), Purple Stars FOTL (/13), Gold (/10), Gold Fast Break (/10), Gold Pulsar (/10), Black Gold Choice (/8), Lucky Envelopes (/8), Green (/5), Black (1/1), Black Fast Break (1/1), Gold Vinyl (1/1), Nebula Choice (1/1)

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2020-21 Donruss Optic LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Elite LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #134 /299

As a brand, Elite has been around for more than 25 years. Originally, it was a premium brand. For the 2020-21 Elite LaMelo Ball RC, a lot of those foundation pieces like foil stock and a moderate print run are there. However, with the definition of “high-end” continuing to evolve, it doesn’t carry the same status. This particular release was one of a handful of online-only products Panini put out in 2020-21.

Parallels: Red, Blue (/99), Aspirations (/98), Purple (/49), Gold (/10), Status (/2), Black (1/1)

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2020-21 Hoops LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #223

2020-21 Hoops has the distinction of delivering the first LaMelo Ball Rookie Card to the masses. Although the set arrived later than usual after the season’s was pushed back, it still helped kick off a new collecting year. Hoops has plenty of history. Its wide availability also helps its recognition — not to mention brings several exclusive parallels for those chasing the rainbow.

Parallels: Blue, Hyper Blue, Neon Green, Purple, Purple Explosion, Purple Winter, Red Backs, Teal Explosion, Winter, Yellow, Premium Box Set (/199), Silver (/199), Green (/99), Hyper Red (/99), Green Explosion (/89), Red (/75), Teal (/70), Blue Explosion (/59), Artist Proof (/25), Hyper Green (/25), Orange (/25), Orange Explosion (/25), Red Explosion (/15), Artist Proof Gold (/10), Hyper Gold (/10), Artist Proof Black (1/1)

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2020-21 Hoops LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Panini Black LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #78 /149

Another online-only release, there’s a certain amount of swagger to this Ball RC. The foil stock gives way to a modern dual-photo front. As far as value goes, the big draw, though, is the small print run of 149 copies. The main card doesn’t have a lot of parallels, either. There is, however, a separate variation version that can be distinguished with the top image being in color and the full-body shot being black and white.

Parallels: Silver (/65), Copper (/49), Gold (/25), Holo Gold (/5), Platinum (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Black LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Panini Chronicles LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #72

Ball has more than 20 different cards in the 2020-21 Panini Chronicles Basketball base set. His Prestige card (#72) gets the RC nod due to the fact that it’s among the most plentiful.

Parallels: Asia, Bronze, Green, Green Ice, Pink, Teal, Red (/149), Blue (/99), Purple (/49), Gold (/10), Lucky Envelopes (/8), Platinum (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Chronicles LaMelo Ball RC Prestige

2020-21 Panini Contenders LaMelo Ball RC Autograph #125

The 2020-21 Panini Contenders LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards comes with the familiar (and popular) Rookie Ticket theme the brand is synonymous with. Well, eventually it will. The autograph is included in packs as a redemption.

Parallels: Premium Edition, Premium Edition Green Shimmer, Rookie Clear Ticket, Playoff Ticket (/99), The Finals Ticket (/49), Cracked Ice Ticket (/25), Premium Edition Blue Shimmer (/20), Premium Edition Gold (/10), Premium Edition Red Shimmer (/5), Ticket Stub (/2), Championship Ticket (1/1), Premium Edition Gold Shimmer (1/1), Premium Edition Gold Vinyl (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Contenders Optic LaMelo Ball RC Autograph #105

Another autograph included in packs as a redemption, the 2020-21 Panini Contender Optic LaMelo Ball has a similar layout as the main Contenders set (at least the final redeemed version will). However, here things are a little more upscale thanks to the Opti-chrome stock. With that, parallels take a more colorful approach instead of playing with the ticket names. The card also has a variation with its own parallels that has a different photo.

Parallels: Red Wave, Red (/75), Blue (/49), Orange (/25), Gold (/10), Gold Vinyl (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Illusions LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #151

With two photos on the front and foil stock, the LaMelo Ball RC in 2020-21 Panini Illusions is likely to give some long-time collectors some ’90s Flair Showcase vibes. It’s a somewhat premium look but it’s a card that’s fairly readily available at a moderate price.

Parallels: Asia, Asia Red, Bronze, Emerald, Orange, Pink, Sapphire, Starlight, Yellow (/149), Ruby (/125), Red (/99), Teal (/75), Black (/49), Asia Gold (/25), Blue (/25), Gold (/10), Lucky Envelopes (/8), Green (/5), Purple (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Illusions LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Panini Impeccable LaMelo Ball RC #98 /99

Ball is found in a couple of parts of the 2020-21 Panini Impeccable Basketball base set. His Rookie Card is the first one on the checklist. It’s a base card in the traditional sense. That said, it’s a premium set with a print run of just 99 copies. A little further down the checklist is an autographed jersey card. Because the base card is the more basic of the two, it gets the traditional RC tag.

Parallels: Asia, Silver (/75), Gold (/60), Holo Silver (/35), Holo Gold (/10), Asia Red (/8), Asia Red and Gold (1/1), Platinum (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Mosaic LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #202

Another chromium option, the 2020-21 Panini Mosaic LaMelo Ball cast a large net spanning multiple hobby, retail and international configurations. That means a lot of parallels, virtually all of which adopt the namesake background effect. Base versions shouldn’t be too hard to track down. Given their rarity, many of the parallels will be, though.

Ball also has a card in the NBA Debut subset (#262) that has the same mix of parallels. Because it’s a subset card, this one tends to be less valuable than the main player card.

Parallels: Mosaic, Blue Reactive Mosaic, Camo Pink Mosaic, Fast Break Silver Mosaic, Genesis Mosaic, Gold Wave Mosaic, Green Mosaic, Green Reactive Mosaic, Ice Mosaic, Orange Reactive Mosaic, Peacock Choice Mosaic, Red Reactive Mosaic, Red Mosaic, Silver, Wave Red Mosaic, Yellow Reactive Mosaic, Blue Mosaic (/99), Fusion Red and Yellow Choice Mosaic (/88), Fast Break Blue Mosaic (/85), Fast Break Purple Mosaic (/50), Purple Mosaic (/49), Orange Fluorescent Mosaic (/25), White Mosaic (/25), Fast Break Pink Mosaic (/20), Blue Fluorescent Mosaic (/15), Pink Swirl FOTL Mosaic (/11), Fast Break Gold Mosaic (/10), Gold Mosaic (/10), Green Fluorescent Mosaic (/10), Green Swirl FOTL Mosaic (/10), Pink Fluorescent Mosaic (/10), Black Gold Choice Mosaic (/8), Lucky Envelopes Mosaic (/8), Black Mosaic (1/1), Fast Break Black Mosaic (1/1), Nebula Choice Mosaic (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini National Treasures LaMelo Ball RC Auto Patch #130 /99

2020-21 Panini National Treasures Basketball is the blue chip of LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards. Running tens of thousands of dollars out of the gate, it has all the makings of a big-time RC: a massive premium swatch, on-card autograph and a print run of just 99 copies for the base version. Perhaps more important than all of these is the fact that it’s part of National Treasures, which has been the high-end benchmark for the duration of Panini’s run as the exclusive NBA license.

Parallels: Horizontal (/75), Bronze (/49), Gold FOTL (/24), Gold (/10), Purple FOTL (/8), Emerald (/5), Blue FOTL (/3), Logoman (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Noir LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #145 /99

The black backdrop makes this one of the slickest LaMelo Ball Rookie Cards. The print run of 99 copies certainly helps the value as well. Ball also has a second card in the base set that pictures him in a blue uniform.

Parallels: Holo Silver (/25), Gold (/10), Holo Gold (/5), Platinum (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Noir LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Panini Obsidian LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #151

Ball has several RCs that use chromium card stock for their foundation. However, 2020-21 Obsidian Basketball does it different with a black backdrop. This means the accents are what shines, particularly when it comes to the colorful parallels. The exceptions are the Flood versions that switch out the black for Green, Red and Yellow.

Parallels: Electric Etch Asia, Electric Etch Green Flood, Electric Etch Red Flood, Electric Etch Yellow Flood, Electric Etch Purple (/99), Electric Etch Orange (/50), Electric Etch Green (/25), Electric Etch Blue (/16), Electric Etch Yellow (/10), Electric Etch Lucky Envelopes (/8), Electric Etch Red (/5), Electric Etch Blue Finite (/3), Electric Etch Contra (/3), Electric Etch White Mojo (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini One and One LaMelo Ball RC #104 /99

The base set puts the “and One” in 2020-21 Panini One and One Basketball. The big draw for the high-end release is the promise of a premium autograph in every box. But there’s also either a base card or a Downtown insert as well. The combination of high box prices, tough availability and ensuing small print run give this one a hefty price tag.

Parallels: Blue (/30), Purple (/25), Red (/15), Gold (/10), Green (/5), Black (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Origins LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #73

For collectors looking for something elegant and abstract in a LaMelo Ball Rookie Card, there’s 2020-21 Panini Origins. Although autographs get a lot of the attention in the set, the base cards are some of the year’s most distinct. The card also has a variation version with the guard in a light blue uniform.

Parallels: Red, Blue (/99), Orange (/75), Pink (/60), Turquoise (/25), Purple (/21), Gold (/10), Green (/5), Black (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Prizm LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #278

In many regards, this is the marquee LaMelo Ball Rookie Card. It will be far from the rarest and, by the time the final sets of the season are out, it won’t be the most valuable. But given the immense popularity of Prizm, it will be a barometer against which all of Ball’s RCs will be measured.

As usual for Prizm, the parallel chase adds another layer. 2020-21 Panini Prizm Basketball has a rainbow of more than 40 colors and patterns.

Prizms Parallels: Blue Wave, Choice Blue/Yellow/Green, Choice Tiger Stripe, Fast Break, Gold Wave, Green, Green Ice, Hyper, Orange Ice, Pink Ice, Purple Wave, Red Ice, Red/White/Blue, Ruby Wave, Silver, Red (/299), Blue (/199), Fast Break Blue (/175), Purple Ice (/175), Blue Ice (/125), Fast Break Red (/125), Purple (/99), Choice Red (/88), Fast Break Purple (/75), Orange Wave (/60), Fast Break Pink (/50), Choice Blue (/49), Orange (/49), Pink Pulsar (/42), Blue Shimmer (/35), Purple Pulsar (/35), Green Pulsar (/25), Mojo (/25), Fast Break Bronze (/20), Gold (/10), Gold Shimmer (/10), Choice Green (/8), Lucky Envelopes (/8), Black Gold (/5), Fast Break Neon Green (/5), Green Shimmer (/5), Black (1/1), Black Shimmer (1/1), Choice Nebula (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Prizm LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Panini Recon LaMelo Ball RC #102

Spinning out of Chronicles and into its own standalone release, the 2020-21 Panini Recon LaMelo Ball brings with it a unique color palette that could have easily fit in with the ’90s. The various Holo parallels add some shine that’s reminiscent of recent Status sets.

Parallels: Holo, Holo Bronze, Holo Pink, Holo Spiral, Holo Red (/199), Holo Blue (/99), Holo Purple (/49), Holo Orange FOTL (/25), Holo Gold (/10), Holo Green (/5), Holo Platinum (1/1)

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2020-21 Panini Spectra LaMelo Ball RC #102

This is another opti-chrome LaMelo Ball Rookie Card. However, from the beginnings of the brand, Spectra has been much more high-end. A lot of that comes through with the autograph and memorabilia cards, but even the base have enhancements like thicker stock. Base versions aren’t numbered but you’re not likely to find this one as often as other products like Prizm and Donruss Optic that have a large retail presence.

Another thing that sets Spectra apart is its parallels that mix colors and designs. Nebula, Celestial, Interstellar and Marble are some of the ones found here.

Ball has a variation where he’s shown in a purple jersey. There’s also a jersey autograph in the base set that’s numbered to 99. The standard card gets the traditional RC tag because it’s more plentiful.

Parallels: Asia, Asia Black White, Asia Green, Silver, Celestial (/99), Asia Red, Asia Red/Yellow/Green (/75), Asia Blue/Orange (/49), Interstellar (/49), Astral (/35), Asia Green/Purple (/25), Meta (/25), Asia Gold (/10), Gold (/10), Asia Red/Gold (/8), Universal Die-Cut (/8), Marble (/5), Asia Black (1/1), Nebula (1/1)

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2020-21 Revolution LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #140

The 2020-21 Revolution LaMelo Ball Rookie Card is for collectors who are looking for a bold look over an autograph or something rare. The patterned backgrounds are the cornerstones of the brand. For Ball’s parallels, things incorporate a variety of shapes and effects rather than the typical colors.

Parallels: Astro, Chinese New Year, Fractal, Galactic, Groove, Holo Silver Asia, Red Asia, Impact (/149), Cosmic (/100), Emerald Chinese New Year (/88), Sunburst (/75), Cubic (/50), Lava (/10), Holo Gold Chinese New Year (/8), Holo Gold Asia (1/1)

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2020-21 Revolution LaMelo Ball Rookie Card

2020-21 Select LaMelo Ball Rookie Card #63

Select differentiates itself from other chrome sets in a few ways. The big one is its three-tiered base set. Concourse is the most common so it has Ball’s RC. However, he’s also part of the Premier Level and Courtside subsets. Besides differing rarity, each card also has its own slightly mix of parallels.

The silver-looking base version is exclusive to hobby packs. For retail configurations, the most common cards are Blue Retail parallels.

Parallels: Blue Retail, Blue Prizms, Cracked Ice Blue/White/Purple, Cracked Ice Red/White/Green, Disco Prizms, Elephant Prizms, Gold Wave Prizms, Green/White/Purple, Red Wave Prizms, Red/White/Orange Flash, Scope Prizms, Shimmer Red/White/Orange, Silver Prizms, Tiger Prizms, Tri-Color Prizms, Zebra Prizms, Light Blue Prizms (/299), Red Prizms (/199), White Prizms (/149), Neon Green Prizms (/75), Blue/White/Green Flash (/49), Blue/White/Green Shimmer (/49), Red Disco Prizms (/49), Teal/White/Pink (/49), Blue Disco Prizms (/25), Tie-Dye Prizms (/25), Neon Orange Pulsar Prizms FOTL (/15), Gold Prizms (/10), Gold Disco Prizms (/10), Lucky Envelopes (/8), Green Prizms (/5), Green Disco Prizms (/5), Neon Purple Pulsar Prizms FOTL (/5), Black Prizms (1/1), Black/White Gold (1/1), Disco Black Prizms (1/1), Flash Black/White Gold (1/1), Shimmer Black/White Gold (1/1), Snake Skin Black Pulsar Prizms FOTL (1/1)

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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