> people don’t even know who these giants were
I am guessing people mold an image of gedolim in their own (limited) image. We often do not have facts readily available. Unless you are a close student, or a family member of a close students, we rely on written sources that are often hagiographies, omitting controversial issues and hard decisions. Most of character-clarifying details I find (and quote here sometimes) come from reading sources, where someone mentions details while discussing something else.