How to Stream the NBA Christmas Special LIVE from Anywhere
With five games throughout the day on December 25, the NBA Christmas Special is one of the biggest events of the NBA season. This year, LeBron James will make his first Christmas appearance as an LA Laker.
All the games are included in the NBA International League Pass package. However, if you don’t want to make an expensive year-long commitment, geo-restrictions make it difficult to watch live NBA games.
TV coverage of the NBA on Christmas is split between ESPN and ABC. Both networks are geoblocked outside the US.
A VPN is the easiest way to bypass the blocks and see every minute of the action. We’ll take you through everything you need to know to stream NBA Christmas Day games from any location in the world.
How to Watch the NBA Christmas Special: Quick Guide
You can watch the NBA on Christmas via a number of US streaming services with a VPN. Based on whether you normally live in the US, pick the guide below that applies to you.
Streaming with Sling TV / Hulu / YouTube TV (Most Viewers)
All of these services offer subscriptions that include ABC and ESPN. A Sling TV Orange package is the cheapest way to watch NBA games on Christmas Day, so we’ve used it for this guide.
- Pick a VPN provider with fast US servers and sign up. We love ExpressVPNfor live sports, and we’ll give you two more great options below.
- Download, install, and open the VPN app. Choose a US server location.
- If you don’t have a US credit card or US PayPal account, purchase a Sling TV* gift card from MyGiftCardSupply.com. Follow the instructions carefully to redeem the gift card.
- Sign up for Sling TV Orange.
- Log in to Sling TV on December 25 to watch every Christmas Day NBA game!
*NOTE: You can also buy gift cards at MyGiftCardSupply.com for other US streaming providers like Hulu.
Special Instructions for Americans Traveling Outside the US
If you are a US resident traveling abroad for the holidays, you still need a VPN to watch the NBA Christmas Day Special – even if you have subscribed to NBA League Pass! You can use the VPN temporarily for FREE by taking advantage of a money-back guarantee.
- Select a premium VPN provider that offers fast connections. We recommend ExpressVPNfor live sports, and we’ll give you two good alternatives below.
- Download and launch the VPN app. Choose a US server location.
- Log in to your US cable/satellite TV account, streaming service account (such as Hulu Live TV), or NBA League Pass account.
- Watch every NBA game on December 25th!
Why You Need a VPN to Watch the NBA Special
A VPN is the quickest and easiest way to get past geo-restrictions and stream all the best live sports, movies, and TV shows anywhere in the world. It works by connecting your device to a private server in a country where the content is available.
The VPN assigns you an IP address that matches the country of the server you select. With the right VPN, a server in the US will unlock not only NBA games on Christmas, but also US Netflix, HBO, and more. A UK-based IP can give you the BBC iPlayer.
Be careful which VPN you choose, however. Popular streaming sites block free VPNs and even many paid services. We thoroughly test every VPN we recommend to make sure it can get you past the blocks.
To watch live basketball, you’ll also want a VPN with stable, fast connections and unlimited bandwidth. Otherwise, lag and buffering could ruin your Christmas basketball marathon.
A reliable VPN also boosts your online security, hiding your activity from your ISP, cybercriminals, and third-party data harvesters. Top VPNs also block ads and malware to keep your data and devices safe every time you go online.
The Best VPNs for Watching the NBA on Christmas Day
With the fastest connections of any premium VPN, ExpressVPN is ideal for streaming NBA games. Servers in Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Seattle, Virginia, and Washington DC make ExpressVPN a powerful tool to bypass regional blackouts all season long.
You can choose from the OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP protocols, and the provider’s verified no-logging policy ensures that your session data will disappear the instant you log off.
Split tunneling allows you to route some of your traffic through the VPN and the rest through your local connection for even greater speed. ExpressVPN’s 24/7 live chat support might just be the best in the business, as many happy users will tell you.
Money-back guarantee: 30 days
Free trial: Offered as part of special promotions; contact customer support
The popular free edition of HotSpot Shield isn’t bad, but the Premium/Elite version is what you need to stream the NBA Christmas Special. With the free version, you’ll encounter a payment wall if you try to access content like Sling TV, Hulu, or Netflix.
The Elite paid plan offers a broad range of US server locations, fast speeds, and lots of additional benefits that make it a great choice for live sports. It’s also free of ads, which is great because US networks give you more than enough of those already!
HotSpot Shield has built a massive user base worldwide by delivering topnotch security and privacy protection. Users give it high ratings for smooth streaming, too.
Money-back guarantee: 45 days
Free trial: 7-day trial available for Premium/Elite
CyberGhost is another highly rated provider, with one of the largest selections of US server locations on the VPN market. It’s not quite as fast as ExpressVPN, but it’s still more than capable of streaming NBA games in HD.
CyberGhost’s user-friendly apps make staying safe online one-click easy. You get protection from online trackers, ads, and malware every time you access the internet, with extra protection for public wi-fi connections.
The provider also has a strict no-logging policy, along with AES-256 encryption and advanced security features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection. All these features are available in native apps for all popular devices.
Money-back guarantee: 30 days on short plans; 45 days on 6-month or longer plans
Free trial: 7-day trial for mobile; 1-day or 3-day Windows trial available
NBA Christmas Day Matchups Preview
All times given are US Eastern Standard Time (EST), UTC –5:00.
Bucks vs. Knicks: 12:00 noon EST, ESPN
Giannis Antetokounmpo is in great form, and he’s looking for revenge after Knicks forward Mario Hezonja viciously dunked on him in New York. If you’ve never seen The Bucks’ “Greek Freak” in action, this is a can’t-miss game.
Rockets vs. Thunder: 3:00 p.m. EST, ABC
The Rockets have scorers everywhere you look, but they face a tough test in the Thunder’s #1 rated defense. James Harden hopes to light up the scoreboard against his former team, but his star teammate Carmelo Anthony might be traded before the game.
76ers vs. Celtics: 5:30 pm EST, ABC
The talent-rich Celtics shocked everyone with a poor start to the season. Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward have found their rhythm now, however, and they’re looking forward to a Christmas showdown with Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons.
Lakers vs. Warriors: 8:00 pm EST, ABC/ESPN
In the most anticipated matchup of the day, much of the focus will be on LeBron James in his first Christmas game as a Laker. But Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have every intention of ruling as NBA champs for a third straight year.
Trail Blazers vs. Jazz: 10:30 pm EST, ESPN
With the Warriors, Lakers, and Rockets getting all the attention, the Trail Blazers have quietly established themselves as one of the best teams in the West. Meanwhile, Utah hasn’t been featured on Christmas Day in over 20 years!
The NBA Christmas Day special is a great sports tradition that grows every year. If you’ve missed out on the action in the past because of geoblocks, now is the time to get a VPN so you’re never left out in the cold on Christmas again.
With the right VPN and a subscription to Sling TV or another US streaming service, you’ll have easy access to over 10 hours of NBA action on December 25. From King James to the Greek Freak to the Splash Brothers, you’ll see them all with no hassles.
Best of all, many top VPN providers are currently offering special holiday deals. We’ve collected all the best coupon codes so you can save your money for holiday presents!