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Updated Feb 14, 2014 - 4:31 pm

The 5: Best Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Models Ever

The 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover was unveiled on Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday night and will features Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge and Chrissy Teigen.

It's the first cover for all three models -- an honor that looks tremendous on the résumé of any supermodel.

The cover reveal got me to the 50 years of the SI Swimsuit Issue, who are the best of the best. There have been 46 cover models in the 50-year history of the magazine special, and narrowing the list to five is about as difficult as splitting the atom.

But here goes.

5. Tyra Banks

Banks became the first African-American woman to grace the cover back in 1996 with Argentinian model Valeria Mazza. The very next year, Banks got the cover all to herself.

Before you jump down my throat at this choice, remember this is 90s Tyra Banks, not the woman who went on to host America's Next Top Model or that awful, awful talk show where she admitted being afraid of dolphins. I'm not making that up.

4. Christie Brinkley

Before she starred as Clark Griswold's Ferrari-driving fantasy, became Billy Joel's Uptown Girl or ever did anything resembling exercise with Chuck Norris, Christie Brinkley appeared on three straight SI Swimsuit covers.

Brinkley, 60, recently appeared on the cover of People Magazine in a swimsuit, and still looks great. But in 1979, when she was in her mid-20s, she was an absolute knockout.

Most red-blooded American men understood Clark jeopardizing things with Ellen.

3. Elle MacPherson

This Aussie is the only woman to appear on the cover five separate times. Her fifth appearance came in 2006 -- twenty years after her first!

For my money, the 1987 cover of MacPherson in a green one-piece (pictured to the left) is the best of all-time.

2. Marisa Miller

Very few times have I met a woman in person that made me feel woozy. Marisa Miller is on that short list.

Miller has been on the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue only once, which is one of the great travesties of the 21st century.

I considered docking Marisa points for making her film debut in the wretched R.I.P.D in the summer of 2013, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I also considered moving her down on the list because she's an avid San Francisco 49ers fan, but again, I couldn't.

1. Kate Upton

At the tender age of 21, Upton has become one of the most recognizable faces in the history of modeling. Yeah, I said face...get your mind out of the gutter.

Not only has Kate been an SI cover girl twice, she's broken into feature films (Tower Heist, The Three Stooges, The Other Woman), she's sold a ton of Carl's Jr. hamburgers and has racked up over 1.2 million Twitter followers.

For an encore, in 2014, she'll be single-handedly responsible for the derailment of Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander's career.

Way to go, Kate!

Honorable Mention: Kathy Ireland, Vendela, Paulina Porizkova, Heidi Klum, Bar Rafaeli, Brooklyn Decker...aww, heck -- all of 'em.

About the Author

School: Arizona State University

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: October 2011

Favorite sports memory: Watching Cardinals win NFC Championship over Philly in January 2009 with my Dad...ASU wins 1987 Rose Bowl...Suns defeat Lakers in 1990 NBA Playoffs...2001 World Series

Favorite all-time athletes: Don Mattingly, Jeff Hornacek, Walter Davis, Anquan Boldin

Favorite sports movies: Friday Night Lights, The Natural, Hoosiers


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