Frankly, I find "legend" status to be inappropriate and pretty silly, actually. How famous can a meteorologist ever hope to be? When I go into the grocery store, they still ask for money when I want to take food home. I don't get police escorts to and from the airport. I can go out in public without being mobbed by fans. No paparazzi are following me around. My portion of "legendary" status is a pretty small one. And that's just fine with me. I still consider myself to be a student of meteorology, still hoping to understand more of the natural world's mysteries.
I've never sought to be a legend, and I don't believe I deserve such a label. And I definitely don't want it! For me, this sort of putting a person on a pedestal is simply an invitation to be knocked down by folks who may dislike you for reasons of their own. It also invites the creation of legends - stories that often grow with successive tellings - that create a drastically oversimplified version of the person being afforded legendary status. A flat, "cardboard cutout" version of the real person being "honored" as a legend results. The real person who farts, belches, curses, makes all sorts of mistakes, and even does stupid things is lost somewhere behind the false front of the legend.
The recent fall of Joe Paterno is a good example - there were rumors of his being less than perfect (arrogant, hard to work with, abusive to his subordinates, etc.) during his coaching tenure, but these were buried in the background, little more than whispered rumors outside of the football program. That is, until events at Penn State called his legacy into question. Then, wolves were howling for his skin well before all the facts were known. Outside of Penn State and its alumni, many people now think of Joe Paterno only in terms of his fall from grace. He didn't deserve "legend" status in his prime, and now he doesn't deserve all the negatives heaped on him as a result of his downfall.
When I read posthumous tributes, I'm often struck by the almost uniformly adoring tone of them, even when the real person was not very admirable. This reflects some sort of unspoken conspiracy to not speak ill of the dead, unless they were "legendarily" bad. No one minds it when you bash Hitler, or Stalin, or Pol Pot, or any other notorious figure. But when a widely popular figure dies, many people seem inclined to wallow in a competition to say the most positive things about the recently dead person. If someone else brings up something about the recently deceased that is less than laudable, they often are vilified, even when speaking the truth. The real person is hidden somewhere behind the cardboard cutout legend.
From dictionary.com: Legend - noun