SPORTS CALENDAR

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November 3

National Basketball Association season begins

For a while it appeared that the NBA would be the latest pro league facing a labor-related disruption, but the league put on some moves and got the players to sign a new contract. The season will begin with the Houston Rockets seeking to become the fourth NBA team to win three or more straight titles, joining the Minneapolis Lakers (1952-54), Boston Celtics (1959-66), and Chicago Bulls (1991-93). The league expands by two teams, both Canadian: the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors.

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November 9-12

World Cup of Golf

What some call ''the Olympics of golf'' comes to Shenzhen, China. Two-man teams from 32 nations will tee off at the new Mission Hills-Shenzhen Golf Club near Hong Kong. Fred Couples and Davis Love III of the United States have won the last two years and will defend their title. By playing in China, one golfer says the sport stands on ''the threshold of the last frontier.''

November 11-12

World Cup skiing begins

European weather so disrupted the start of last year's early races that the new season will briefly appear in Tignes, France, before moving to North America. Vail, Colo., hosts the first United States races Nov. 16-19. Downhill racer Picabo Street won six circuit races a year ago plus the downhill title, confirming her status as one of the best US skiers ever.

November 12

New York City Marathon

After Boston, this is probably next among American marathons in international prestige. No US runners have won since 1982 and this year most of the top Americans will skip New York to focus on the February Olympic trials. Kenya's Tegla Loroupe is the defending women's champion, Mexico's German Silva the men's.

Skates of Gold III

This made-for-TV event showcases present and past figure skating champions. Twenty-four will participate in this year's extravaganza, from Oksana Baiul to Peggy Fleming. It will be taped in Albany, N.Y., and aired Nov. 16 by ABC Sports.

November 13-19

WTA Tour Championships (women's tennis)

Clearly, Wimbledon and US Open champion Steffi Graf deserves the year-long No. 1 ranking in women's tennis, but this tournament may not confirm that. If it doesn't, it will be because Graf pulls out (a possibility, given her personal troubles) or one of 15 players in New York beats her. Monica Seles, who lost a three-set US Open final to Graf, is expected to play, as is defending champion Gabriela Sabatini.

November 13-19

ATP Tour World Championship (men's tennis)

The top eight players on the men's tour gather in Frankfurt, Germany, where Boris Becker may have the crowd behind him but Pete Sampras (ranked No. 1) should be the favorite.

November 19

Grey Cup (football)

Canada's Super Bowl celebrates its 83rd anniversary long before the National Football League playoffs begin. This year, for the first time, the Canadian Football League has been organized into Canadian and US divisions. Regina, Saskatchewan, a CFL stronghold, hosts the game.

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