The 20 Best Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Covers

Tonight on The Late Show With David Letterman, this year's cover of the long-running Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue will be unveiled, as everyone's Valentine's Day comes to its climax. Hopefully. Unless you're a stupid loser.

The cover model has yet to be announced, but the big money seems to be on either Brooklyn Decker, who was on the cover last year and will soon be seen in Just Go With It and Battleship, or Cintia Dicker, an Amazon redhead from Brazil who has graced the pages of the swimsuit annual for the past two years. Either way...boobs.

The issue has a long and proud (adolescent snicker) history of showcasing some of the most beautiful models and starlets on sunny beaches and tropical landscapes most of us can only dream of, since most of the nation is toiling in winter.

Taking the girls to exotic locales, making them stand basically nude in cold water, covering them in sand and making them squeeze their wares together has been the issue's perverted and awesome legacy. We all remember where we were when S.I. started body-painting chicks for the issues. It was like the Moon landing for horny teenage boys (with less tears and more Kleenex).

The most popular models on the cover since the maiden 1964 issue have been Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Elle Macpherson, Kathy Ireland and Tyra Banks. And the pubescent-boy-baiting magazine introduced the world to the wonder that is Marisa Miller in 2002.

But you stopped reading this after I mentioned Cintia Dicker didn't you? I did too. I could put military atomic launch codes in this space and you wouldn't care. OK, here's the best Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers of all-time, including the 1994 edition, which I owe debt of adolescent gratitude.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty