Summary List Placement
- The 2021 NBA All-Star Game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET on March 7.
- You can watch the event on TNT through cable or live streaming services.
- At $35 a month, Sling is the cheapest streaming platform with access to the game.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the time-honored tradition of annual sporting events helps to assuage the pain of quarantine, even if most of us will have to curtail plans for our usual in-person gatherings. The NBA All-Star Game, showing off the skills of basketball’s best and brightest each year, is set to proceed on schedule this Sunday despite some protestations from notable players.
Traditionally, the All-Star Game is part of NBA All-Star Weekend, which features a series of competitions over a three-day period. This year, the events will all take place in one night, with the game itself, a Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk Contest all scheduled for March 7.
Last season, the league shook up the All-Star Game format by allowing leading vote-getters to act as captains for team selection, and implemented the Elam Ending to make the final minutes more exciting. That draft format will continue this year with LeBron James and Kevin Durant making selections on March 4 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
Joining them in the starting lineup are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal, and Kyrie Irving in the East, with Jayson Tatum tabbed as Durant’s fill-in. The West starters include Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, and Luka Doncic. This writer is still a little salty about the exclusion of Damian Lillard, but that’s neither here nor there.
Fans who want to watch the All-Star Game live have several platforms to choose from, including cable and live streaming services. Check out a full rundown of viewing options below.
How to watch the NBA All-Star Game
If you have a cable TV subscription, you can watch the NBA All-Star Game on TNT. The event starts at 6:30 p.m ET on March 7, and the game itself will begin at 8 p.m. ET. You can also watch the event live using the TNT app on all your favorite platforms, but you need an authenticated pay-TV provider to sign in.
Before the games starts, fans can watch the Skills Challenge and Three-Point Contest at 6:30 p.m. ET. The Slam Dunk Contest will then take place during halftime.
If you don’t have a cable subscription, read on for a breakdown of all the ways you can stream the NBA All-Star Game this weekend.
Streaming services with TNT
For the last decade or so, cable alternatives have become commonplace, offering a slightly more targeted option to those who don’t want to shell out for a hefty cable bill.
They aren’t all that much cheaper than cable anymore — cost creep is real — but many offer free trials and they should all be available on most media devices, whether you use a laptop, a streaming stick, a smart TV, or a game console. For those wondering, neither FuboTV nor PhiloTV currently offer TNT in their streaming packages.
Sling TV is, by now, the elder statesman of the cord-cutting family. Most have heard of Sling and are at least somewhat familiar with how it works. Still, its two-package offering isn’t necessarily self-explanatory.
If getting TNT is your goal, you can opt for either Sling Orange or Sling Blue. The two have different channel packages but both include the Turner flagship network. Each plan costs $35 a month, or you can drop $50 for both combined (this should be called Sling Brown, but it’s not).
Sling Blue allows three simultaneous streams, whereas Orange limits you to one, so keep that in mind if you’ve got friends or family who are also interested. A three-day free trial will get you free access to the All-Star Game if you time it right and remember to cancel.
Youtube TV may be the most comprehensive offering of any popular live streaming platform, with more than 85 channels, but it’s also one of the priciest, clocking in at $65 a month with no opportunity to pick and choose more svelte packages for less money.
TNT is, of course, included. Currently, the service is offering a two-week free trial, though availability and length does vary, so we can’t currently guarantee that will still be on the table come game time. Youtube TV allows three simultaneous streams.
Hulu + Live TV
If you’re an NBA fan, you probably know Hulu has live sports. I mean, if you haven’t heard it from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, and Joel Embiid already, are you even a fan? (Just kidding. No gatekeeping here.)
Hulu actually offers less channels than Youtube TV for the same $65 price tag, but it does include access to Hulu’s entire library of on-demand shows and movies. There’s also a nifty $72 monthly bundle that adds access to ESPN+ and Disney Plus, so if you’re a huge sports fan or a parent that’s a viable route.
With Hulu + Live TV, you’ll be able to watch on two devices at once. A seven-day free trial awaits, should you choose to provide your credit card number.
+ Live TV (small)
AT&T TV is the streaming arm of the telecom giant’s TV division. With the different package tiers, you’re essentially getting the same thing you would get with their cable packages, just boxed up in some different wrapping paper.
The “base” tier, called Entertainment, costs $70 and includes more than 65 channels (like TNT) with a ton of on-demand content to boot. Jump up to the $85 Choice package and you’ll get a “complimentary” subscription to HBO Max and NBA League Pass, plus an extra 25-30 channels. You can watch three simultaneous streams with an AT&T TV account.