I firmly believe that CJ just didn't want to be that great. He never seemed passionate in the NBA, took plays off, and didn't stay in the best playing shape. Also, he was clouded by those publicity stunts and his radical beliefs
Actually AI had the freedom and system set up for him that CJ never had. In fact, Bernie Bickerstaff stated that he would not change his system to accomadate CJ. If CJ had the freedom and system AI had, he would have been magnificent.
Sort of like Ralph Samson and the coach at Houston who wanted to make him a banger when he was a finest center like Kareem Abdul Jabbar.