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Nike Capitalizes on Team USA's Basketball Wins, Sidelining Under Armour

Kyrie Irving, left, and Carmelo Anthony of USA Basketball laugh on the bench during a game against Argentina on Day 12 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Aug. 17, 2016.
  • Team USA sponsor Nike has shoe deals with 9 of 12 players
  • ‘What an unfortunate missed opportunity for Under Armour’

Some of the Rio Olympics’ most decorated athletes flashed their Under Armour gear over the last two weeks, including Team USA’s women’s gymnastics juggernaut and 23-time gold medalist -- and company pitchman -- Michael Phelps.

Even so, the Baltimore-based company is missing its most famous face. The U.S. men’s basketball team is marching toward its sixth gold medal in seven Summer Games, and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is nowhere to be seen. The two-time NBA MVP put rest and recovery ahead of a trip to Rio, limiting Under Armour Inc.’s ability to promote its brand and leaving it without a presence on the Team USA men’s basketball team.

“What an unfortunate missed opportunity for Under Armour,” said Scott Becher, executive vice president of sports and entertainment at Zimmerman Advertising. “It hurts when you have global growth ambition and your most high-profile ambassador sits out the world’s biggest sports event.”

The company had planned to spotlight Curry’s trip to Rio in a...