The NBA is the undisputed number one basketball league in the world. Whenever the NBA season is on, thousands of fans flock to the arenas to cheer on their favorite teams. On the other hand, hoop junkies outside the U.S. turn to the web to watch live NBA games. However, what if you don’t know how to watch NBA games online?
- There are many ways to watch live NBA matches in the U.S. including AT&T TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV and Hulu, to name a few.
- A good VPN like ExpressVPN can help you circumvent geoblocking to access NBA content on U.S.-only streaming sites, or for U.S.-based superfans who want to bypass local and regional NBA League Pass blackouts.
- A solid VPN can also protect you if you decide to take less legal methods to watch NBA games.
Whether you want to watch nationally televised games or snack while watching NBA playoffs and the play-in tournament, we’ll walk you through a few ways to stream games online, from free streaming sites to Kodi to torrenting. For those options, we suggest investing in a respectable VPN, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN or Surfshark.
11/01/2021 Facts checked
Cloudwards updated this guide to include new information on where to stream NBA games and which VPNs to consider.
If you’re in the U.S., services like AT&T TV, YouTube TV, Roku and Sling TV should allow you to stream games. If you’re outside the U.S., the international NBA League Pass is a nice option. You can also use a VPN to bypass geoblocks and access U.S.-only streaming services.
You can watch NBA for free without cable through popular Kodi add-ons for sports. Other streaming sites, such as VIPBox and nba-stream.com, allow you to watch NBA online for free. However, keep in mind that these methods are illegal and pose an online security threat, so use a VPN.
Yes, you can watch old NBA season games from 2012 to the present with the NBA League Pass.
The best way to watch NBA games is the NBA League Pass. National channels like ABC, ESPN, TNT and others broadcast most games, but not all. If you’re located in NYC and want to watch a game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, you’d need the League Pass.
How to Watch NBA Games Online in the U.S.
What you should know is that all NBA broadcast rights are split across four cable networks, listed below in order from most to fewest games:
- NBA TV
If you want to watch games without live TV, you should look for streaming options that offer access to the four networks. A subscription to the league’s official streaming service is your best bet.
Alternatively, you could get the NBA League Pass subscription. You may miss out on some games if you’re in a blackout region, but you can cheer for your favorite (or second favorite) NBA teams for the remaining games.
U.S. Streaming Services for NBA Fans
We tried many streaming services in the U.S. and found the following options to be the best.
The AT&T TV Choice package is a basketball favorite. For $64.99 per month, it unlocks all the major national NBA channels: NBA TV, ESPN and TNT. Read our how to watch ESPN guide to learn how to unblock this channel. We also have a guide on how to bypass ESPN blackout dates.
What we like most about AT&T TV is its support for all platforms, including Android and iOS devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, Samsung smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Plus, it allows you to run simultaneous streams on up to three supported devices.
Like AT&T TV, YouTube TV gives you access to ESPN, NBA TV and TNT. ABC isn’t available in all markets in the U.S. However, this shouldn’t be too much of a worry because ABC offers the fewest games.
In terms of price, the YouTube TV plan goes for $64.99 per month. The service permits three simultaneous streams without cable and six accounts per household, making it a great choice for bigger families.
Others: Regional Sports Networks, Sling TV and DirecTV
Sling TV is a great alternative to AT&T TV and YouTube TV because it’s cheap. Starting from $25 per month, you get access to livestreams on ESPN, TNT and NBA TV (comes as an add-on). If you want to watch the full league, you can also buy a League Pass on Sling TV.
DirecTV is also a nice alternative, as it has ESPN, ESPN2, TNT and NBC Sports with the Basic Entertainment package that costs $70 for the monthly subscription. You’ll need to subscribe to more expensive plans for NBA TV though. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, DirecTV offers a good basket of RSNs to watch all local games from a single service.
If you already have a cable subscription to RSNs, you can use the channel’s apps (like the ESPN app) to stream on mobile devices. Alternatively, you could go to their website to stream a game. For instance, if you’re in the U.K., you could watch NBA on Sky Sports channel, provided you have a subscription, of course.
What About the NBA League Pass and NBA TV?
The NBA League Pass is an exciting streaming service for basketball superfans in the U.S. You can watch regular-season games, all-star weekend and NBA finals as they happen or at any time during the season. There are flexible pricing plans: League Pass, Team Pass, Three-Game Pass and Day Pass.
Unfortunately, the NBA League Pass comes with local and regional blackouts. The blackout means that if you’re in a country or city where cable TV providers own the broadcasting rights, you can’t watch live broadcasts. In the next section, we’ll show you how to bypass the NBA blackouts.
If you want to watch only the local games, NBA TV is a more cost-effective alternative. While cord-cutters won’t have full access to all NBA games in the season, they can still view all local games. If you’re a fan of free trials, NBA TV has one for seven days so you can check if it’s worth the money.
How to Get the NBA League Pass for Cheap
The League Pass normally costs $99 for the season or $14.99 per month — and you still have to deal with blackouts. However, there’s an international version of the League Pass that does not have any blackouts. The prices vary by country, and here are a few examples.
- Australia: $155 AUD per season
- France: 120 EUR per season
- Singapore: 125 SGD per season
- India: 1,500 INR per season
Depending on the exchange rate for the day, this means you could get the Indian League Pass version for about $18 for the entire season.
To sign up for this deal, you’ll need to use a VPN with servers in India to get an Indian IP address (ExpressVPN is our top recommendation, as it has virtual servers in India). Once you connect to the Indian server, go to the League Pass site and sign up. You can still pay with a U.S. credit card.
Watch NBA Online Around the Globe With a VPN
Now, a lot of the streaming services where you can stream NBA games online are only available in the U.S. This means that if you’re outside the U.S., you can’t stream NBA games on these services that have geoblocks in place.
In this case, you have two workarounds:
- You can subscribe to the NBA League Pass and binge-watch regular-season games without a cable subscription.
- You can use a virtual private network (VPN) to unlock the cheaper U.S.-only services.
Unlocking NBA League Pass Blackouts With a VPN
A VPN also comes in handy if you are in an NBA League Pass blackout region. It’s accessible almost everywhere, but a few countries like Cuba and North Korea are still geoblocked. With a powerful and blazing-fast VPN, you can circumvent regional blackout restrictions and follow all games live.
To get around an NBA League Pass blackout, all you have to do is connect to a specific server outside the blackout region. This way, you’ll hide your real IP address so you can watch live games that are only available to basketball fans outside the blackout zone.
We recommend using ExpressVPN because, unlike other VPN services, it allows you to drill down and pick a specific server in the U.S.
The Best VPNs for Streaming NBA Games
Here are our top VPN suggestions.
- ExpressVPN — The best VPN for NBA games; fast, reliable and secure — but expensive
- NordVPN — An excellent VPN, though some servers can be slower
- Surfshark — An affordable VPN with good all-around capabilities
- CyberGhost — A cheap VPN option with good customization
- Windscribe — Offers a good free plan and a unique build-a-plan option
The Best VPN to Watch NBA Games Online: ExpressVPN
We recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN for streaming because it delivers exceptional speed, security and unlimited bandwidth, allowing you to watch NBA games online without buffering or security risks. Read our ExpressVPN review to understand the strengths of this VPN service, or try it out for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Other VPNs for Watching NBA Games
If you still want to shop around for a VPN, our other top recommendation is NordVPN, and you can read about it in our NordVPN review.
However, if you’re looking for a really affordable option, we suggest Surfshark (read our Surfshark review), CyberGhost (read our CyberGhost review) or the free VPN Windscribe, which also offers a cheap build-a-plan that can be tailored specifically for your needs (read our Windscribe review).
How to Watch NBA Games for Free 2023
If you’re looking for a short-term solution to stream NBA games, we recommend trying out free trial plans on services such as Hulu + Live TV, NBA League Pass and FuboTV. However, once the trail ends, you’ll need to pay — or look into other options to watch NBA without spending a dime.
Keep in mind, streaming NBA for free can land you in pirate-infested hot water and comes with its fair share of legal risks, and it’s always advisable to use a reliable virtual private network — listed above — for the sake of your security.
Free NBA Streaming Sites 2023: Watch NBA Games Without Cable
It’s hard to find free streaming sites that are reliable and risk free. The best free stream sites we found were VIPBox and nba-stream.com.
However, while these sites are somewhat reliable, your security and privacy when using them isn’t a guarantee and it’s highly likely that you’ll unknowingly download malware. For this reason, we recommend staying away from illegal streaming sites.
Watch the NBA Online With Kodi
We’re big fans of Kodi because of its flexibility and versatility, as well as its ability to stream NBA live. Besides the paid Kodi add-ons for sports, the service neatly bundles some reliable free sports add-ons. Read our Kodi guide to understand the strengths of the service.
The free Kodi add-ons that stand out for NBA fans include SportsDevil, which has streams from TNT and ESPN. Others include Bennu, cCloud TV, NBA full games (through Fusion) and UK Turk Playlists.
Torrenting NBA Games
Torrenting NBA games sits at the bottom of the list of options at your disposal. NBA torrents are free but hard to come by, which is why we created a list of the best alternative torrent sites.
Torrenting in general can be hit or miss, since there’s always a chance the file you’re downloading has been infected by malware or ransomware — not to mention that it’s illegal to download copyrighted content.
To keep your data and IP address away from prying eyes (and the law) when torrenting, be sure to implement one of the best VPN for torrenting, like ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
Final Thoughts: Watch NBA Games Online
Hopefully, you’ll find a way to watch NBA online without cable. If you want reliability, security and performance, go for the legal methods.
Stay away from the dodgy streaming sites, because even though they are free, they carry a serious security threat. Using illegal stream sites without protecting yourself with a reliable VPN like ExpressVPN can also put you on a collision course with law enforcement.
Have we left out your favorite NBA streaming method? Let’s know about it in the comments below. Thank you for reading, and have fun watching NBA online.