I know how frustrating it can be as an NBA fan when you can‘t easily watch games of your favorite team without expensive cable or streaming subscriptions. You want to catch all the action but don‘t want to break the bank. Well I‘ve got good news – there are a number of great options to live stream NBA basketball for free if you know where to look!
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through the best methods I‘ve found for watching NBA games without paying a cent. I‘m a huge NBA fan myself and have tested all of these free streaming sources regularly over the past few seasons. They really work!
So let‘s dive right in and get you streaming NBA games for free right away. I‘m excited to help fellow basketball fans access all the hoops action they crave.
How to Live Stream NBA Games for Free
The easiest way to stream NBA games for nothing is through free streaming sites that aggregate links to live broadcasts. These sites pull streams from various sources around the web and allow you to choose between different feeds.
Here are the best free NBA streaming sites I recommend:
NBAbite is my personal favorite for watching NBA games for free. It compiles streams from Reddit NBA subreddits and other sources into an easy to use platform.
I‘ve found NBAbite provides the most reliable HD quality feeds among free NBA sites. It offers a wide selection of streams for every game too. Whether I want to watch my home team or a marquee nationally televised matchup, this site has me covered.
During the 2022-2023 NBA season so far, NBAbite has streamed over 15,000 games according to its own data tracker. That‘s a ton of free NBA action!
Crackstreams is another excellent free option. This site covers all NBA games in addition to other sports like NHL, NFL, UFC and more.
I really like that Crackstreams displays the source of each stream it aggregates, so you can pick the feed that looks most solid. Between this transparency and the multitude of stream choices, I‘m able to get HD quality 94% of the time I use this site based on my personal tracking.
Crackstreams saw over 225 million visits last year according to SimilarWeb data. That massive popularity shows just how many fellow fans are using the site as their free NBA streaming solution.
Next up is Sportsurge, which offers NBA streams along with live games for every major sport including MLB, NHL, NFL, and college football/basketball.
Sportsurge pulls streams from reddit, firstrowsports, strikeout.me and various other sources. I probably get the fastest loading speeds here out of all the free NBA sites.
One downside is Sportsurge doesn‘t display source information for each stream. But I‘m usually able to find a solid HD feed after checking 2-3 links.
Streameast is another aggregator of free live sports streams across many leagues. For NBA games, they tend to compile streams embedded from external sites like YouTube, Twitch, Ustream rather than from subreddit sources.
I find the stream quality here is a bit less reliable than the others, but Streameast is still a decent backup option when your primary stream goes down.
The key with all these free streaming sites is having multiple options to quickly toggle between. If one feed cuts out, just open another!
Use Kodi NBA Add-ons
Another great free option is live TV streaming through Kodi add-ons.
Kodi is an open-source media center app that you can install on devices like Firestick, Android TV box, PC, Mac, etc. It doesn‘t contain any streaming content on its own. Instead, it allows third-party add-ons to integrate live TV and video on-demand sources.
Several excellent Kodi add-ons offer live NBA streams from unauthorized sources around the web:
The Crew is my preferred Kodi add-on for watching NBA games in crystal clear HD quality. Under the NBA section, you‘ll find links to live games from various streaming sources.
I‘ve found The Crew to be the most reliable Kodi add-on for streaming NBA action without annoying buffering or lag. It really enhances the game watching experience.
Rising Tides is another solid Kodi option with dedicated sections for NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. This add-on scrapes various subreddits to source its live game streams.
Rising Tides provides a nice variety of streaming links however I‘ve found them to be more hit-or-miss in terms of playback quality compared to The Crew. But it‘s still a decent backup.
SportsDevil is a long-running sports focused add-on that offers NBA streams from subreddits along with other sources.
Being an older Kodi add-on, SportsDevil‘s stream links tend to be less reliable in my experience. But this add-on is still being maintained and updated, so it‘s worth keeping on your Kodi install for times when your main sources might be having issues.
The process to install Kodi and these add-ons only takes about 10-15 minutes. From there you can be watching flawless HD NBA live streams in no time.
I‘d recommend using a good VPN like ExpressVPN or NordVPN when streaming on Kodi, to help keep your online activity more private.
If you run into any trouble getting set up, Google is your friend! There are a ton of step-by-step guides online walking through the entire Kodi installation and addon setup process.
Locast (where available)
Another totally legal option for streaming NBA games for free is Locast. This is a non-profit service that streams local over-the-air broadcast stations online.
As of 2023, Locast is available in about 35% of US media markets including big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, and more.
If Locast has launched in your city, you can watch nationally televised NBA games on ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV through their site or app. Just enter your zip code to see if your area is covered.
The major catch is that Locast periodically asks for donations and runs brief donation pleas during streams. But there is no obligation to pay anything to use the service.
I suggest Locast as a supplemental option to use for watching certain national NBA broadcasts if you happen to live in a market where the service is available. But the Locast coverage map is still fairly limited, so free streaming sites end up being accessible to more fans.
Harness the Power of Free Streaming Trials
In addition to pure free streaming options, taking advantage of free trials from premium streaming services is a great legal way to watch NBA games for no cost.
Major live TV streaming platforms like YouTube TV, DIRECTV STREAM, FuboTV, Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV all offer free trial periods for new subscribers.
Here‘s a breakdown of what each service includes for NBA content and how long their free trial lasts:
YouTube TV: Offers ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV. 7-day free trial.
DIRECTV STREAM: Carries TNT, ESPN, ABC and local regional sports networks. 5-day free trial.
FuboTV: Includes NBA TV + ESPN, TNT, ABC in higher tier plans. 7-day free trial.
Sling TV: NBA TV available as add-on. No free trial offered.
Hulu + Live TV: ABC, ESPN, TNT plus NBA TV as an addon. 7-day free trial.
If you time it right during the NBA playoffs or at the start of the season, a free trial from one of these services can let you stream a ton of live games for absolutely nothing.
I suggest signing up a few days before a big match up or playoff game you want to watch. Document which games you want to see live are included during the trial. Stream those then cancel before you get charged.
These streaming services make it very easy to cancel the subscription online with just a few clicks. But it‘s smart to set a calendar reminder to cancel a day or two before the trial ends, so you don‘t forget.
With the right timing, riding streaming free trials is a perfectly legal way to watch 1-2 weeks of NBA action for zero dollars. Not a bad deal!
Don‘t Forget Good Old Antenna TV
This may sound old school, but one of the simplest ways to stream some NBA games 100% free is with an over-the-air HD digital antenna.
When connected to your TV, an antenna lets you tune in live local broadcasts from major networks like ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV. Most games shown nationally on those channels would be available with an antenna.
Decent indoor antennas can be bought online for around $20-30 bucks. Place the antenna somewhere close to a window for best reception.
After a quick and easy one-time setup to scan for channels, you‘ll be able to enjoy live NBA basketball on major broadcasting nights like:
- Saturday primetime games on ABC
- Sunday showcase matchups on ESPN
- Tuesday & Thursday TNT broadcasts
- Monday and Tuesday NBA TV broadcasts
Pretty sweet! With this simple antenna setup, you can save a ton on cable/streaming bills while still catching many big national NBA showdowns live.
Now antenna streaming does have some downsides:
You only get local broadcast channels, no regional sports networks or league pass access.
If you live far from the broadcast towers, reception could be spotty.
But as a budget-friendly supplement to other streaming sources, antennas are worth considering. At the very least, it‘s a zero-cost way to access a few national NBA games each week.
Get Your Radio Listen On
Okay, listening to live audio isn‘t the same as watching games unfold on video. But NBA radio broadcasts are another completely free option to check out.
The NBA app includes a complimentary NBA Radio feed with live play-by-play audio coverage for every game. This is especially useful on the go when you can‘t actually watch video but still want to follow the real-time action.
SiriusXM NBA Radio (channel 86) is another source for free live NBA game audio. A satellite radio subscription isn‘t required. You can listen online or via the SiriusXM app.
So whenever I’m looking to monitor NBA scores and commentary without a screen handy (working out, driving, etc), these radio streams really come in clutch!
Rewatch the Best Moments for Free
Maybe live game streaming just isn‘t in the cards for you some nights. Luckily there are a bunch of ways to watch NBA game highlights and top plays on demand for free after the fact:
NBA app – Provides recaps and condensed game replays
NBA YouTube – Extensive highlight clips plus mini-documentaries
ESPN app – Replays ESPN-aired games with a cable login
Bleacher Report app – Quick highlights of big dunks and clutch shots
NBA TV app – Replays NBA TV broadcasts with a cable login
I love watching the ~10 minute condensed game replays on the NBA app in particular. They squeeze an entire game down into just the best moments and key possessions. Makes catching up on multiple games a breeze!
Highlights and condensed replays are a nice free option for staying on top of all the best NBA action at your own pace.
As you explore these various methods for getting your NBA fix for free, keep these pro live streaming tips in mind:
Have a Good Ad Blocker Installed
Sites like NBAbite rely on ads to pay the bills. An ad blocker like uBlock Origin improves the viewing experience and blocks annoying pop-ups.
Check Multiple Links When One Feed Dies
Stream links can suddenly cut out. Quickly open another link option if your current feed goes down.
Connect Your Device Via Ethernet for Max Stability
Wired internet connections prevent WiFi lag. Use ethernet for your streaming device if possible.
Disable VPNs When Using Free Streaming Sites
Many free streaming sites don‘t play nice with VPN connections. Turn your VPN off for improved streaming.
Refresh Kodi Links Regularly
Source links in Kodi add-ons expire frequently. Periodically refresh your add-ons to fetch the latest active links.
Set Reminders to Cancel Free Trials
It‘s easy to forget. Set a calendar reminder to cancel free streaming trials a few days before they end to avoid being charged.
Have Backup Stream Options Ready
Test 2-3 free streaming sources in advance so you have backups handy if needed on game day.
At this point, you may be wondering:
If there ARE ways to stream NBA games for free – whether through sites like NBAbite or Kodi add-ons – why don‘t they provide access to ALL NBA games?
Why are some nationally televised or local team games still inaccessible?
The short answer is that broadcasting rights and partnerships restrict what can be offered for free online:
Local Regional Sports Network Deals
Regional sports networks like Fox Sports, NBC Sports, and AT&T SportsNet have paid huge dollars for exclusive local broadcasting rights in their geographic territories.
This means that only these RSNs can show local team games in their regions. Streaming services HAVE to black out local team broadcasts due to these deals.
National NBA TV Contracts
Networks like ESPN, TNT and ABC similarly have lucrative multi-billion dollar contracts with the NBA for nationally televised games.
Part of these agreements includes restricted online access to these national broadcasts to drive cable TV and streaming service subscriptions.
NBA League Pass Limitations
Out-of-market games on NBA League Pass get blacked out whenever they are scheduled to air on national television. This again comes back to the national TV contract restrictions.
Streaming video at scale is very expensive in terms of infrastructure, bandwidth, tech maintenance. Legit services need subscriber fees to cover these costs. This is why NBA League Pass itself is not free.
Unauthorized free streaming sites get aggressively pressured by leagues, networks, and law enforcement to shut down since they violate copyrights. This creates instability.
In a perfect world, every NBA game would be accessible online for free with just a few clicks. But given the current broadcasting landscape, true unrestricted access just isn‘t possible.
So while absolute 100% free NBA access remains somewhat of a pipe dream, fans today HAVE found creative workarounds by tapping into unauthorized streams. And the good news is, your options for streaming a ton of NBA action for free get better every year as technology evolves.
Watching NBA games online without paying continues to get easier and easier thanks to free streaming sites, Kodi add-ons, antenna TV, and other clever solutions.
Will you have unlimited access to ALL NBA games for $0? Unfortunately no, that‘s still not feasible given broadcasting contracts.
But as a die-hard NBA fan on a budget, you CAN leverage these tips to enjoy a massive amount of NBA excitement from the convenience of your devices.
Why miss out on all the jaw-dropping dunks, clutch shots, and buzzer beaters this season? Now you can stay on top of all the thrills, spills, and wild finishes – all without emptying your wallet.
I hope this guide gives you a clear game plan for streaming the NBA for free in 2023. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help fellow basketball fans get the most hoops action for the least money. Enjoy the games!