Johnson became the first man to captain two British & Irish Lions tours and led the 1997 side to victory in South Africa.
He will skipper the Tigers for the last time in Saturday's Zurich Grand Final against Wasps at Twickenham.
But he is not about to start letting the emotions of the day distract him from what is at stake - a fifth Premiership title in seven years for Leicester.
He has spent the last year looking to the future, to life beyond his playing days and this week found himself sharing drinks with the likes of Sir Garfield Sobers and Ian Botham.
They were all appearing at the launch of Nobok, a new company designed to give the public a chance to meet their sporting heroes. And Johnson, despite his own unprecedented successes as a player, was humbled.
"It's a pretty cool thing to be involved with. Sir Garfield Sobers is over there at the bar and Ian Botham has just walked past," he said.
"When they said, 'Come and be one of our legends', I said: 'Well, I'm not really a legend, but these guys are so I'll tag along if that's okay.'
"When I was younger these were the guys that were doing it. When Botham won the Ashes in 1981 I was 11 years old and I remember it vividly.
"Sir Garfield Sobers' six sixes at St Helens is something you have grown up watching. Sir Bobby Robson with the England teams and that great Ipswich team of the late 70s and early 80s. It's a bit unreal to be involved with them.
"I think you have a problem if you see yourself as a legend."