FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM) MLB: Tigers at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network) MLB: Cubs at Cardinals, 8:05 p.m. (WGN) NFL preseason: Patriots at Eagles, 7:30 p.m. (WBZ-TV, NFL Network) NFL preseason: Cowboys at Raiders, 10 p.m. (NFL Network) WNBA: Tulsa at Phoenix, 10 p.m. (NBA TV) Golf: PGA Championship, 1 p.m. (TNT)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Paul Pierce developed a distaste for the Knicks while playing for the Celtics. Now that he’s share’s a city with them, it’s magnified .
“I think the hate has grown a little. Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it’s grown to another level,” Pierce said Thursday on ESPN NewYork 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show.” “I think it’s time for the Nets to start running this city.”
At a media event later in the day, Pierce said he’s “settling in nicely and embracing the change” since the trade, and he looks forward to going head to head against the Knicks.
“The only thing that separates the two teams is a bridge,” he said. “And both of them are in the same division and both of them are considered contenders. You can’t help but say this is probably going to be the best rivalry in sports next year.”
Although he won a championship with the Celtics, Pierce said this Nets squad has more talent than any of his previous teams, with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and fellow former Celtic Kevin Garnett all having All-Star recognition on their resumes.
“What team in the NBA can say they can put a starting five out there with all the guys have been All-Stars?” Pierce said. “That’s tough. It’s definitely the most talented team, but come the end of the year — June, July — when I’m out there on the beach, I want to say this is the best team I’ve ever played on, and the only way we can do that is to win a championship.”
Knicks guard J.R. Smith, at a charity golf tournament Thursday, acknowledged the Nets’ improvements but said the Knicks still are the city’s premier team .
“It’s an unbelievable move for [Jason Kidd] to have a team like that to start off with in his first year. I think they’ve got a great chance to compete for a title, but I think we’re still the marquee team in New York,” Smith said. “A lot of people are counting us out just like they did last year. We’ve got a lot to prove. I think we’re going to come out with a lot of edge and hopefully put it to positive use on the court.”
Pierce, who noted that he feels completely healthy, said he was hoping to make his regular-season return to Boston earlier than Jan. 26, which is when the Nets visit Boston for the first of two times in 2013-14.
“You just want to get it out of the way,” Pierce said. “When you’ve got to go through something tough, I’ve always been a guy that just wants to get it out of the way. It’s going to be in the back of my mind.”
Pierce also said he plans to skip the Nets’ preseason game in Boston on Oct. 23.
“I’ll do it just one time next year,” he said.
♦ LeBron James reported for jury duty Thursday in Ohio, but he was sent home along with other prospective jurors when no trial took place.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal , the four-time NBA MVP showed up 10 minutes before his 8:30 reporting time and sat in the jury foreman’s office to avoid attracting attention.
James posted a picture on Instagram as he prepared to leave his home for the courthouse, writing: Jury duty time. Time to serve my civic duty.
Said courthouse head of security Kandy Fatheree: “As soon as he walked in I just scanned the room, and everyone knew immediately who he was. It was kind of funny to see the movements of everyone whispering to each other.”
♦ The NCAA, which is being sued by former and current players in federal court over the use of athletic images and likenesses, announced that it will stop selling team jerseys  and other items linked to individual schools and players.
“I think seeing the NCAA sell those kinds of goods is a mistake,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “It’s not what the NCAA is about. So, we’re not going to be doing that any longer.”
While the NCAA investigates Hesiman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel for allegedly profiting from autographing merchandise, the organization’s site has allowed users to type in individual player names and be shown related merchandise.
“We’re exiting it as soon as we feasibly can,” Emmert said. “Again, I think it was inappropriate for us to be in that business, and we won’t be in the future.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 9, 1949, which Red Sox player’s team-record hitting streak ended at 34 games?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I can speak for the whole team. I felt like [on Tuesday], honestly they came out with this attitude to try to bully us. And even though it’s practice, it’s always still a game tempo. I think as a team — and obviously I can speak for myself — I wanted to try to set the tone on myself as an aggressive person and just make plays.” – Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin, on practicing with the Patriots  in preparation for Friday night’s preseason opener
STAT OF THE DAY: 41 – Pitches thrown by Jon Lester in the first inning Thursday against the Royals as he allowed three runs during the Red Sox’ 5-1 loss 
‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): A fan makes a nice catch of a home run ball at a minor league game in Dayton, Ohio, between the Dayton Dragons and the Lake County Captains.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Dom DiMaggio
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Groundbreaking rapper Kurtis Blow was born on this day in 1959.