|“||Hi, Chad Danforth here, the human form of the 100 emoji.||”|
Chad Danforth is one of East High's popular jocks, being the co-captain and fellow basketball teammate of the Wildcats, and is the loyal childhood best friend to Troy Bolton, since pre-school. He is also the boyfriend of Taylor McKessie.
Chad is arguably, out of any other student at East High, the most devoted to the Wildcats. He is almost always the one to start the “WHAT TEAM?!” chant among his peers. Even when separated from the ball for days or even weeks at a time during the events of Season 1, he still retains this high spirit. The ball is the incarnation of the Wildcat spirit, passed on from basketball player to basketball player in a legacy stretching back to East High’s first class.
This may explain why Chad places an emphasis on making Troy into the next Wildcat legend in Season 1, citing previous Wildcat basketball legends as inspiration. I may also argue that Chad may have thought himself as the next incarnation of the Wildcat Champion, but upon knowing Troy’s aptitude for basketball he may pressure Troy to take the mantle instead. But why would the basketball spirit forge such a strong bond with Chad, even though Troy seems to be the next Wildcat champion? The answer: Troy is not 100% committed to the Wildcats. Troy is conflicted, his dedication split between basketball and theater. He can’t even decide when going to college, deciding to leave Albuquerque and study in California so he can pursue both basketball and musicals. Troy’s own future, both with Gabriella and with his interests, play a larger part in his life than his team and the Wildcats of East High. Therefore, I argue that the basketball only forms bonds with those that are loyal to the Wildcats and to East High.
So who else has the basketball forged a bond with besides Chad in the series? Well, although Chad is clearly the most connected to the Wildcat Spirit, I believe that the events of Season 1 concerning Ryan’s relationship with his peers are a result of his contact with the Wildcat basketball. If you watch Season 1, in the opening song “Summertime”, you will notice that Chad throws the basketball back, his excitement for summer momentarily overpowering his attachment to the ball, thus rendering it free to bond to whoever next contacts it. And who is that? Ryan Evans. Although his contact with the ball only lasts for a second or two, the bond has already been set in place.