Tyra Banks Awarded 3rd Best Sports Illustrated Cover

Banks thanks SI for giving a Black model a chance to be a cover girl.

Posted: 02/05/2014 11:59 AM EST
Tyra Banks, Sports Illustrated

(Photo: Sports Illustrated Magazine)

Tyra Banks looked hawt when she graced the 1997 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover in a tiny red and pink polka-dot bikini. The cover was recently awarded the third best SI cover of all time on NBC's "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful" (with the top spot going to Kathy Ireland's 1989 issue) and in her acceptance speech, Banks gave props to the magazine for giving a Black woman a chance to be its cover girl.

"A lot of the women here say it was their dream. But it wasn't my dream, because I didn't think it was possible. And I didn't think it was possible because of the color of my skin," she said. "I want to thank Sports Illustrated...for thinking different, and I say 'different' without an 'ly,' for being daring and for making every little Black girl that year that saw that issue go, 'Oh my God, mama, I think I'm pretty because a Black girl's on the cover just like me.' I stand here representing everybody with a dream, to know that if you have a dream and you have tunnel vision, it can come true. But remember to dream bigger. Because if you do, those things can be reached, too."

Banks went on to share her two Sports Illustrated covers with her Twitter followers and wished the publication a happy 50th birthday.

"Wouldn't be where I am now, if it weren't 4 this cover," she wrote with a photo of her first SI Swimsuit cover. "Grateful. Thankful. Blessed."


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