Lil Kev is playing a key role for the Cleveland Cavaliers

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Cleveland Cavaliers’ official mascot is, of course, Moondog. But right now their unofficial mascot, or perhaps just spirit leader, might just be a magazine advertisement that bears a passing resemblance to their All-Star power forward, Kevin Love. That’s right, a magazine advertisement. A magazine advertisement that is known as Lil Kev.

Let’s back up a bit. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, this whole thing started during Cleveland’s first round series against the Detroit Pistons.

What Lil’ Kev is, literally, is a Tommy Bahama advertisement that was ripped out of an in-flight magazine by [Richard] Jefferson when the Cavs were flying back from Detroit after their first-round sweep of the Pistons.

Jefferson thought the model in the ad bore a striking resemblance to Love.

“We saw Lil’ Kev in a magazine and we just started giving Big Kev a lot of crap, even though it’s not him,” said Jefferson. “It’s not him and that makes it even funnier.”

The name, Jefferson says, is inspired by Love’s recent State Farm commercial, in which he plays a prepubescent boy as part of a fictional family sitcom, “The Hoopers,” also starring DeAndre Jordan as the mom, Kevin Garnett as the grandpa, Chris Paul as the dad and Damian Lillard as the baby.

“We were messing with Kev and we ripped it out [from the magazine] and we started doing stuff with it,” Jefferson explained.

Since discovering Lil Kev, Jefferson has given the ad a starring role on his Snapchat account, with vignettes such as this…

Lil Kev now has his own (verified!) Instagram account, where he makes guest appearances with other Cavs players…

Is this the next Espn 3- man broadcast crew?

A photo posted by Lil Kev (@officiallilkev) on

And now it appears there may be a clothing line in the works? Last night Cavs guard J.R. Smith posted a photo of him getting up some late night shots at the Cavs’ practice facility while wearing a Lil Kev t-shirt.

#nightcap with @thereal94feetofgame thanks to my guy @officiallilkev for the shirt

A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

He may only be a magazine ad, but Lil Kev seems to be playing an important role for the Cavs right now…

#teamchemistry is key to a great lockeroom.

A photo posted by Lil Kev (@officiallilkev) on

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