Iconic Dwyane Wade and LeBron James photograph taken in Milwaukee 'has a life of its own'

In December of 2018, Morry Gash's phone started blowing up with notifications, the result of ESPN tweeting about Gash's 2010 photograph featuring Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

The sports network was commemorating the eighth anniversary of the shot, taken at the Bradley Center on Dec. 6, 2010. Hardly a round number, but photos that good don't easily slip from the public consciousness.

"This particular one has a life of its own," said Gash, who lives in Fox Point and has been a fixture at Wisconsin sporting events as the lone Associated Press staff photographer within the state. "Dwyane Wade's agent wanted a copy of the picture to get it signed for LeBron, and now they're all getting copies of it. I've never had a picture signed for me in my career, but they're both going to sign it for me."

Wade's presence in Milwaukee will always be tied to his time as a star at Marquette University, which joined the Milwaukee Bucks in calling the now-demolished BMO Harris Bradley Center home. But there's also this moment in time during his Hall of Fame run with the Miami Heat that came at the expense of the hometown Bucks.

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade reacts as teammate LeBron James goes up for a dunk during the first half of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade reacts as teammate LeBron James goes up for a dunk during the first half of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here's how the famous Dwyane Wade/LeBron James dunk photo happened

The dunk took place in the early moments of what became an 88-78 win for the Heat.

The foreground of Gash's photo features Wade with his arms out already in celebration, having thrown a bounce pass behind him to a trailing LeBron James, who joins Wade on the list of the NBA's greatest players ever. In the background, James is in the process of throwing down a monster tomahawk dunk while members of the Milwaukee Bucks look on helplessly.

Here's what the dunk looked like with a different camera. Blink and you'll miss it.

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The photo's excellence was recognized in the moment. James tweeted about it one day later, helping to launch the visual into national exposure, and Gash said he knew he had something special when he began editing the disc during the game.

How did Morry Gash capture the iconic photo of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James?

Gash, 58, has taken numerous memorable photographs, and not just within Wisconsin. He's covered the biggest events in sports, from Super Bowls to the World Series to the Olympics — he's worked all eight winter and summer installments since 2004. He's the AP's point person for Packers, Brewers, Badgers and, of course, the Bucks.

"At basketball games, we do a lot of shooting following the ball with the camera," Gash said. "We also do remotes. That camera (which captured the image) was a remote sitting in front of me. When I fire the regular camera, the remotes fire. (Wade) ran right past me."

This particular game marked the first appearance for Miami in Milwaukee since James and Chris Bosh had famously joined Wade as free agents during the preceding summer. The Wade-James partnership, one of the best 1-2 NBA punches in the past generation if not the best (with all due respect to Shaq/Kobe), helped lead the Heat to the NBA Finals that 2010-'11 season. Though Miami fell to the Mavericks once it got there, the Heat won both of the next two championships.

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JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Iconic image of Dwyane Wade against the Bucks will live forever