Best Friends Win Mega Millions Jackpot after Trying for 25 Years

Melissa Knowles
Trending Now

Who wants to be a millionaire? At this point, it's practically a rhetorical question, because who does not want to be? Two best friends who have wanted to be a part of the millionaires club and played the lottery together for the past 25 years are finally able to celebrate.

Willie McPherson, 74, and Christopher Manzi, 44, started buying Powerball and Mega Millions tickets together in 1987. After a quarter century of trying, they finally hit it big, but it was not with the tickets they had purchased. While McPherson and Manzi did not win money with the tickets, they did receive two $1 Quick Pick tickets as part of a promotion. One of the Quick Pick tickets turned out to be a winner -- a $14 million Mega Millions winner.

McPherson, who lives in Upper Manhattan, and Manzi, who lives in New Jersey, decided to take the lump sum payout of $10 million, which they split evenly. With their winnings, the friends are planning a trip to Miami and want to invest in real estate.

After taxes, Manzi will receive $3.5 million and McPherson will receive $3.3 million, because New York's taxes are higher than New Jersey's. Perhaps the most endearing part of their story is that Manzi spotted McPherson $20 for his portion of the original tickets they bought, and still split the winnings with his friend. The friends originally met when Manzi hired McPherson to work for him at his print shop.

In response to winning, Manzi told the New York Post, "We both like playing the lottery, we both like women, and we both like lots of money." The owner of the shop where the winning ticket was purchased gets $10,000.

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