Sports Illustrated is currently in the throes of celebrating the 50th anniversary of its iconic Swimsuit Edition—the magazine just hosted a big bash in New York attended by the likes of Kate Upton and Heidi Klum, among others. We thought that in honor of the brand’s biggest and most successful franchise, we’d take a look back at the sexiest ladies who’ve graced the cover in the 50 years it’s been heating up bookshelves everywhere.
From Tyra Banks in that unforgettable pink-and-red polka-dot string bikini to Upton in what is literally the tiniest bikini yet to be seen by human eyes, the swimsuit edition has long been the foremost authority on beautiful women in skimpy swimwear. And back in 2000, they upped their game even more by debuting a 3-D issue.
Click through the gallery to see the 15 sexiest SI Swimsuit Edition covers ever!
The first issue of the Sports Illustrtated Swimsuit Edition to feature a bikini debuted in 1964.
Model Cheryl Tiegs graced the cover in 1975, splashing around in a pool in Cancun, and then appeared on another subsequent issue.
In 1981, Christie Brinkley shot her third and final cover for the Swimstui Edition. Fun fact: the one-piece suit she's wearing cost a relatively modest $58 at the time.
In 1996, Tyra Banks became the first black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This fun-loving pose took place with model Valeria Mazza.
Tyra's first SI cover was so good that the following year, she appeared on it solo.
Kate Upton made a big splash (pun fully intended) when she showed up out of nowhere on this 2012 cover of the magazine, in what is literally the smallest cut of fabric that could ever be legitimately ordained a bikini.
Arguably, there are few things hotter than supermodel Petra Nemcova seductively removing her bikini bottoms.
In 2008, SI went with a "barely bikini" theme, including Marisa Miller donning not an actual bikini top, but rather a strand of strategically placed beads across her bosom.
Just a year after this cover debuted in 1988, Elle Macpherson rightfully earned her longtime nickname "The Body" with this Thailand-shot SI cover.
In 2013, Kate Upton made her second appearance on an SI cover, baring perhaps even more of her breasts than the previous edition.
In 1995, Czech model Daniela Pestova showed that you don't have to bare it all to be sexy.
In 2009, supermodel Bar Rafaeli was the face of the magazine's "Bikinis or Nothing" issue, which featured some of the world's hottest women wearing (you guessed it) bikinis or nothing.
In 2000, SI made a valiant attempt to take the bikini magazine game to a whole new level: they made the inside spreads in 3-D, complete with glasses. Daniela Pestova served as the cover girl for that issue.
Super hottie Brooklyn Decker posed, technically, topless on the 2010 cover.
Beyoncé became the first non-model and non-athlete to grace the cover, when she appeared on 2007's special music edition.