RIO DE JANEIROCopyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Erin Phillips and Penny Taylor pose with "Kevin" after a huge win over France. (AP Photo/Doug Feinberg)
It's hard to miss Kevin sitting behind the Australian bench on a cooler at all of the Opals games so far. No, he's not the team trainer or official, or even a fan. He's the adorable stuffed kangaroo, complete with boxing gloves, that is given to all Australian teams by the nation's Olympic committee at the start of the Games.
Opals guard Erin Phillips came up with the name for a simple reason.
"Because it started with a 'K'", she said smiling. "That was the first name that popped into my head. A few other names were thrown out there, but we came to an agreement. It was majority rules, and Kevin was it."
Not everyone was happy with the name. Star center Liz Cambage had her own ideas for what to call the two-foot yellow mascot.
"My name didn't go down too well," Cambage said laughing. "I wanted to call him Uluru (after the rock in Australia). Change 'Ru' to double O at the end. Kevin won."
Phillips said that Opals rookie guard Tessa Lavey is responsible for Kevin, bringing him to practice and games. He's been a bit of a good luck charm so far for the Australians who are 3-0 in group play.
After the huge 89-71 win over France, Phillips carried Kevin through the mix zone.
Australia guard Erin Phillips, holding team mascot Kevin, gestures after her team defeated France. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
"Kevin does lack a bit of airtime, so he likes to get in front of the camera sometimes," the Dallas Stars guard said.
If the Opals keep winning Kevin might get a lot more screen time and who knows maybe even his own reality show.
— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) August 4, 2016