If the goal was to dodge the media then the Miami Heat have their first loss of the season with one of the largest media turnouts in years greeting coach Erik Spoelstra for Tuesday's opening session of training camp at The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort.

"Hopefully after today we'll lose some of you" Spoelstra quipped. "Even still we like the environment."

If the goal was to create Bahamas buzz then this trip to Nassau already has paid its dividends.

"When we showed up on the plane [Monday] night" Spoelstra said "they had a mini-parade and band waiting for us. It was pretty cool."

Drawing a swarm of local media commensurate to anything they would have handled at AmericanAirlines Arena the Heat very much found themselves amid a champion's welcome.

"When the bus was passing last night everyone was waving" Jeffrey Rodgers a marketing director for the Bahamas' sports ministry said. "It is a big thing for the country."

The players immediately got that sense.

"It was great to be welcomed like that with open arms to the island" LeBron James said. "I thought it was pretty cool. We're humbled by it."

While track and field remains the islands' ultimate sports passion "we have a lot of Miami Heat fans here including myself" said Eldece D. Clarke.

If that name sounds somewhat familiar it's because James Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh aren't the only Olympic gold medalists circulating at the ballroom-turned-court at Atlantis. Clark won gold for the Bahamas in the 4-x-100 track relay at the 2000 Sydney Games as well as silver in the event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

"Here you have fans of either the Miami Heat or the Los Angeles Lakers" she said of the islands' NBA loyalties.

To a degree history still trumps proximity.

"There's lots of Lakers fans here because Mychal Thompson is Bahamian and also Rick Fox" she said. "That's when the Bahamians got even more interested in the sport of basketball."

"They left their presence" Rodgers said."When Mychal won his first championship ring the Lakers did a float here in the Bahamas for Motorcade. It was huge. The whole city was out."

They're out again although security is typical Heat in nature plenty of men in black escorting players from their private-building sanctuary to the shuttle vans to the makeshift practice courts.

"It's an opportunity for us to spend a lot of time together this week a lot of meals a lot of bus rides in a place and environment our guys can enjoy at least the scenery outside the gym to and from" Spoelstra said."But we're here to work. They understand that. Our guys are very mature about this. At the same time they can understand it's a little bit of a mental reward."