It is important for gay kids to have out role models who can let them know it is alright as well as to see that star athletes they look up to like a Lebron being in support of them. You should try to find an interview or article by John Amaechi where he talks about his work with kids.
There is still a large scale dehumanization campaign against homosexuals going on. While I don't personally care who is or isn't gay or find it shocking that there are gay people in all walks of life that doesn't reflect the importance of it to others.
I think it's more for their sake. Finally feeling they don't have to keep something which is obviously very important to them supressed. Rather than just wanting to let you know they're gay in case you're interested.
The fact that shit like this still makes headlines, shows that there still is an issue. Highlighting it will be more benificial in the long run than ignoring it is.
Good points... but still, theres something fundamentally wrong with an issue being made of the sexuality of sports people. By coming out via the media, it only serves to rile the cavemen who will undoubtedly come out and say something crude about it. We know these cavemen exist and nothing anybody can say or do will stop them from being homophobic. The rest of us ( the majority ) couldn't really care less. So I ask again, what's the point? I can totally understand a sports person coming out to friends and family. I also understand that the media will eventually pick up on it if they do that. But to call press conference specifically to come out?
In truth the best way to battle homophobia is ignore peoples sexuality. It's not even remotely important unless you are actually having sex with the person in question, which none of us are.