Where to stream NBA Games live online
Thankfully, NBA fans don’t suffer from the shortage of streaming options.
In the US, four channels provide the NBA national coverage – ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV. The majority of games can be found on TNT and ESPN while ABC only airs a handful of games, including the NBA Finals.
If you have a cable subscription, you can stream NBA via the official provider’s streaming portals:
- ABC Live Stream is all about the NBA Finals, including the live stream in top-notch quality.
- Watch ESPN and ESPN Player are two options to get excellent coverage of most games.
- NBA TV offers various flavors of league passes and the content on offer knows no limits.
- TNT Overtime allows you to stream NBA games airing on TNT for free. It’s not the same coverage you get on TNT, though, since TNT Overtime has no commentary and shows only four camera angles. But you can’t beat free anyway.
But if you are a die-hard cord-cutter, you have excellent streaming alternatives. The great news is none of them require that you sign up for cable:
- Sling TV covers ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, and TNT. Its Orange plan includes ESPN and TNT at $20/mo.
- FuboTV may be primarily geared towards soccer fans, but its base plan includes NBA TV. It’s not perfect, but for $20/mo you get your NBA and soccer fix all-in-one.
- PlayStation Vue covers ESPN, TNT, and ABC. It might be pricier than Sling TV, but it’s worth a look. The channels’ availability depends on where you live, but you get ABC live streams and some local networks.
- DirecTV Now also covers the four broadcasters, although in a somewhat costlier package.
Why use a VPN to stream NBA Games
Clearly, blackouts apply, and the NBA streams are occasionally unavailable based on where you live. All local team games are blacked out on NBA Pass. So your location in the US, not your subscription, determines your coverage. This is annoying since a blacked-out game is only available after it has finished.
But the blackouts can’t compare to the aggravation of getting locked out of your content when you travel abroad. Sling TV et al. are location-restricted, so your paid subscription is as good as lost if you are outside the US. All vacationers, business travelers, digital nomads, expats, and exchange students who were counting on quality NBA coverage during their overseas travel get zilch out of their premium packages.
Finally, the NBA Pass pricing is uneven, especially when you look at its subscriptions from different locations. NBA Pass is priced based on region, so you can very well pay more if you buy it from the US, or significantly less if you buy from, say, South Africa or India.
One quick fix to the above problems (blackouts, geo-restrictions, and uneven pricing) is a VPN.
A Virtual Private Network is a web of servers across the world run by a VPN provider. A VPN works by encrypting your data and routing it through its server in the country of your choice.
When you connect to a VPN server, it assigns you an IP address of its host country. Digitally speaking, you get virtual citizenship in that country.
Let us suppose you need to appear as if coming from the US to bypass your Sling TV geo-block. Connect to a US VPN server and head over to Sling TV. Voila.
If you want to bypass your local NBA blackout, check which state is not blacked-out and connect to a VPN server in that area. Once connected, head over to your streaming portal and enjoy the game.
Likewise, if you want to save on the NBA Pass, try its pricing from different VPN servers. It may be a good idea to check the prices in South Africa, Cameroon, Senegal, India, or Afghanistan. You’re unlikely to find a good deal with an Australian IP address if you know what I mean.
Since a VPN encrypts your traffic, you get a bandwagon of security advantages that go far beyond NBA streaming:
- Bypass your ISP throttling
- Avoid being monitored and tracked by your ISP
- Protect your sensitive data from Man-in-the-Middle attacks
- Circumvent your school, campus, or office firewall
- Stay below the radar of mass surveillance agencies
- Unlock a treasure trove of gaming and TV show streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime
- Videos, Steam, iTunes, etc.)
How to live-stream the NBA with a VPN
- Subscribe to a VPN service.
- Install its VPN client on your device.
- Launch your VPN app and connect to a VPN server in the US.
- Clear your browser’s cache to avoid leaking your real location.
- Open your browser and head over to your streaming site.
- Log in and stream the NBA games live – from anywhere in the world.
Best VPNs to live-stream the NBA from anywhere
Tip: free VPNs like Hola may be tempting, but steer well clear of freeware VPNs. They tend to deploy weak or no encryption, log your online activities, and share your data with third parties.
Our top pick!
- Always evades internet control in the PRC
- Keeps ahead of the Netflix VPN detection algorithm
- Benchmark tests show excellent speed
- More US city locations than its rivals
- Includes malware protection
- No-logs policy
- No limit on the number of devices you can connect at the same time
- SOCKS5 proxy, which its main rivals don’t have
- More VPN servers in more US cities to dodge blackouts