Stars billboard makes light of NBA referee scandal

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars may have already taken themselves out of the running for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
-- the NHL's award for "sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct."

As part of the team's "come into the cold" ad campaign to sell seats for 2007-08, the Stars took a shot at the NBA's referee scandal on a billboard near the American Airlines Center, the building the Stars share with the Dallas Mavericks.

The message? "The only thing our refs shave is the ice."

But Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn't seem to mind, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"I think it's hysterical," Cuban told the newspaper. "Good for them. It's a fun ad."

The campaign, dreamt up by the Stars and Austin, Texas ad agency Door Number 3, is aimed at conveying the toughness of hockey players in an edgy style. One board reads "One game a week? Is the N in NFL for Nancy?" the Morning News reported.

Even baseball was not immune, despite the fact Stars owner Tom Hicks also owns the Texas Rangers: Another billboard reads "Maybe baseball should stop using the word sacrifice," according to the Morning News.

Stars president Jim Lites said Hicks laughed at that one, the newspaper said.

NBA Commissioner David Stern, who was made aware of the Stars' ad campaign on Thursday afternoon, said through a league spokesman that he had no comment, according to the report.

The Stars didn't take a swipe at the NBA without some reservations, Lites told the Morning News.

"It's edgy. But we're really good friends with the Mavs. They're our partners in the building. I think we thought it would be taken the right way," Lites told the newspaper. "It's not a slap at them. It's more of a snip. I think the same goes for the Cowboys. The NFL is the big daddy."