In 1997, TYRA BANKS became the first black model to get a solo cover of the “Sports Illustrated” Swimsuit issue.  Now, 23 years later, she’s 45 years old and back on the cover.

There are three covers this year.  The other two feature soccer star ALEX MORGAN and New England Patriots cheerleader CAMILLE KOSTEK.

(Check out all three here.  And check out Tyra’s latest cover side-by-side with that first cover here.)

The cover marks a return to modeling for Tyra, which also comes with a new name:  From now on she just wants to be known as BanX . . . B-a-n-Capital X.  (???)  She says it symbolizes the “X-ing out [of] cookie cutter beauty.”

She adds, quote, “Mononyms are exciting in the industry.  But usually models use their first names, like Iman.  I want to flip the script and go by my last name.  I’m taking something familiar and making it new.  I’m wiser now and thicker.”